MARK Cooper has laid down a challenge to Swindon Town’s number two goalkeeper Tyrell Belford, saying the young stopper has the perfect chance to prove he’s “good enough” as he covers for the injured Wes Foderingham over the next fortnight.
Belford made his home league debut last night, as Town drew 1-1 with Crawley at the County Ground, on the same day the news broke that Foderingham is set to spend between two and three weeks on the sidelines as he recovers from a groin problem.
Swindon’s senior keeper has a three-centimetre tear in his groin muscle, discovered by a scan on Monday, giving Belford an extended run in the first team.
The former Liverpool man was subjected to jeers from his own fans yesterday evening as his distribution let him down against Crawley but Cooper has backed Belford to bounce back when Town travel to Crewe on Saturday.
“It’s another chance for another young player to stake a claim and for us to find out whether he’s good enough.
“It’s a chance for him to play three or four games and see where he is,” he said.
“The thing with Ty is he’s very confident. Whatever amount of stick he gets won’t faze him. He’ll still try to play out from the back and work the ball out.
“There’s no question of his character. He’s a strong willed young man and he’ll be fine.”
Cooper was frustrated by the speed at which his side used the ball and his striker’s inability to maintain possession during the draw with Crawley.
He said: “When you’re 1-0 up with 10 or 15 minutes to go and you have a chance to win the game, where your centre-forward is clean through and if he rolls the ball across the six-yard box it’s a tap-in and 10 seconds it’s in the back of our net, it’s very frustrating.
“We did okay until we got to the final third of the pitch and we weren’t good enough tonight.
“If your strikers don’t hold the ball up you struggle to get anything going.
“We had plenty of possession but when it gets to the final third the forwards have to hold it up to it enables the rest of the team to get up.”