DARREN Ward will come back stronger from being rested for the trip to Bristol City, according to Swindon Town manager Mark Cooper.

Ward, who had made 55 appearances for the Robins prior to Saturday’s goalless draw at Ashton Gate, was left out of the matchday 18 by Cooper at the weekend as the Town boss felt his captain was looking a little jaded after a long run in the side.

Cooper said the 35-year-old was understandably frustrated at being omitted but he backed the defender to make the most of his week off.

“I just felt after recent games he looked a little bit tired,” said Cooper. “He’s played 55 games this season, which is an awful lot, and I felt he needed to be taken out of the firing line. We’ve brought Jack in who’s done well today.

“Of course it’s hard because he’s a respected professional and he’s a good man but my job is to do the best for the team.

“I spoke to Darren and obviously he’s not going to be happy about it but he took it and I’m sure he’ll come back stronger.”

With Ward missing, Cooper handed the captain’s armband to Nathan Thompson – an obvious decision according to the Swindon manager.

“I think when you’re looking for somebody else as captain you don’t look past him and his brother (Louis) because they love Swindon, they love the club and you can tell what it means to them to play for the club,” he said.