Cooper demands improvement from Swindon forwards against Brentford

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Mark Cooper says Michael Smith and Town's other strikers must step their game up Mark Cooper says Michael Smith and Town's other strikers must step their game up

WHOEVER is selected to start up front for Swindon Town when Brentford come calling this weekend, manager Mark Cooper is hoping to see his strikers put their bodies on the line for the sake of the team.

Cooper was critical of his forward pairing of Michael Smith and Miles Storey after the defeat to Carlisle United last weekend, saying neither player did enough to hold the ball up in the final third of the pitch.

With five matches remaining of the season, the Town manager wants his frontmen to prove they are worth their spot in his side by showing a willingness to pick up bumps and bruises as they protect possession.

Brentford arrive at the County Ground tomorrow off the back of a remarkable run of two defeats in their last 22 matches, which came against League One leaders Wolves and third-placed Rotherham United, and he has stressed that combative centre-backs Tony Craig, Harlee Dean and James Tarkowski will present a formidable challenge for his strikers.

Therefore, he is keen to see Smith, Storey or whoever he picks to lead the line for Swindon produce a hard-nosed performance.

He said: “If we play like we did on Saturday at Carlisle and improve dramatically in the final third of the pitch we’ll have every chance of causing an upset.

“There are only so many times you can show people and coach people in terms of trying to get hold of the ball.

“If they don’t want to take that advice and they don’t want to take contact with centre-halves and maybe take the odd knock, bump and bruise then I’m not sure it matters how much you do.

“They certainly have to be better than they have been. It’s putting yourself in the right position, taking contact off the centre-half, knowing how to pin him and making sure, when the ball comes into you, he doesn’t have any chance of winning that ball.

“With the way we play, we keep possession and at some point the ball has to go forward. At some point it has to go into the frontman. For us to be able to move further up the pitch he has to be able to control the ball.

“We put sessions on to try to replicate that contact but when the whistle goes at three o’clock they have to be prepared to do it.

“We can’t go and have 60-odd per cent possession and have so many entries into the final third and 11 attempts and not get anything from the game.

“I think if I was a midfield player I’d be frustrated because I’d know that if the ball went forward I couldn’t run past that ball because there’s a good chance that it’s going to come back.

“That means they have to run 70 yards back. Whoever plays up front on Saturday has to be brave, play against the two uncompromising centre-backs that Brentford will have and be able to take contact.

“We threw points away on Saturday because we didn’t protect the ball in the final third of the pitch.”

Smith and Storey may well be playing for their place in next season’s starting line-up, with Cooper already formulating a list of transfer targets for the summer.

The Swindon manager said: “We’re not blessed with options so they have to learn by playing in the team and they have to learn quickly. There’s five games to go, the transfer window opens again and I’m sure there’ll be players coming in in the summer.

“You’re always looking. Of course we’re looking to add to the squad in the summer. I don’t think we need a lot, we need a bit of tweaking and if we get the right ones we’ll be able to bridge the gap to where we need to be.”

Just as Town were appearing to find some consistency with a run of four games unbeaten in League One, they came unstuck in Cumbria last weekend. With Cooper branding Brentford the favourites this time around, however, he is hopeful his team can spring a surprise or two.

He said: “I think we are where we are in terms of we go and have three or four results and then we go somewhere where we’re expected to grind out a result and we don’t.

“I think Brentford is slightly different because we’re probably the underdogs and they’ll certainly be expected to come and steamroller us.”

Comments (13)

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7:05am Fri 11 Apr 14

Scouse Red says...

Bring Dani in from the cold as at least he can hold the ball up better than Smith, who, don't get me wrong, is trying, but just doesn't seem to have the quality to make the ball stick at the moment
Bring Dani in from the cold as at least he can hold the ball up better than Smith, who, don't get me wrong, is trying, but just doesn't seem to have the quality to make the ball stick at the moment Scouse Red
  • Score: 2

7:42am Fri 11 Apr 14

old town robin says...

Scouse Red wrote:
Bring Dani in from the cold as at least he can hold the ball up better than Smith, who, don't get me wrong, is trying, but just doesn't seem to have the quality to make the ball stick at the moment
It's been so long since N'Guessen last played I'd forgotten he was still a Robin. I think you are right he should be brought back, but I don't think Cooper will want to play someone who won't be here next season.
[quote][p][bold]Scouse Red[/bold] wrote: Bring Dani in from the cold as at least he can hold the ball up better than Smith, who, don't get me wrong, is trying, but just doesn't seem to have the quality to make the ball stick at the moment[/p][/quote]It's been so long since N'Guessen last played I'd forgotten he was still a Robin. I think you are right he should be brought back, but I don't think Cooper will want to play someone who won't be here next season. old town robin
  • Score: 1

9:00am Fri 11 Apr 14

London Red says...

old town robin wrote:
Scouse Red wrote: Bring Dani in from the cold as at least he can hold the ball up better than Smith, who, don't get me wrong, is trying, but just doesn't seem to have the quality to make the ball stick at the moment
It's been so long since N'Guessen last played I'd forgotten he was still a Robin. I think you are right he should be brought back, but I don't think Cooper will want to play someone who won't be here next season.
Do you not remember why he went out into the cold?
[quote][p][bold]old town robin[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Scouse Red[/bold] wrote: Bring Dani in from the cold as at least he can hold the ball up better than Smith, who, don't get me wrong, is trying, but just doesn't seem to have the quality to make the ball stick at the moment[/p][/quote]It's been so long since N'Guessen last played I'd forgotten he was still a Robin. I think you are right he should be brought back, but I don't think Cooper will want to play someone who won't be here next season.[/p][/quote]Do you not remember why he went out into the cold? London Red
  • Score: 2

9:47am Fri 11 Apr 14

WirralRed says...

Yes, i'd forgotten about him completely. No reason why he can't figure even if he's not going to be there next year surely?
Yes, i'd forgotten about him completely. No reason why he can't figure even if he's not going to be there next year surely? WirralRed
  • Score: 0

10:44am Fri 11 Apr 14

Digby22 says...

WirralRed wrote:
Yes, i'd forgotten about him completely. No reason why he can't figure even if he's not going to be there next year surely?
Why play someone who isn't going to be here next season - far better to develop the players and form better understanding of each others play. Safe mid table is the ideal time to blood some of the young/fringe players
[quote][p][bold]WirralRed[/bold] wrote: Yes, i'd forgotten about him completely. No reason why he can't figure even if he's not going to be there next year surely?[/p][/quote]Why play someone who isn't going to be here next season - far better to develop the players and form better understanding of each others play. Safe mid table is the ideal time to blood some of the young/fringe players Digby22
  • Score: 7

10:46am Fri 11 Apr 14

Digby22 says...

WirralRed wrote:
Yes, i'd forgotten about him completely. No reason why he can't figure even if he's not going to be there next year surely?
Why play someone who isn't going to be here next season - far better to develop the players and form better understanding of each others play. Safe mid table is the ideal time to blood some of the young/fringe players
[quote][p][bold]WirralRed[/bold] wrote: Yes, i'd forgotten about him completely. No reason why he can't figure even if he's not going to be there next year surely?[/p][/quote]Why play someone who isn't going to be here next season - far better to develop the players and form better understanding of each others play. Safe mid table is the ideal time to blood some of the young/fringe players Digby22
  • Score: 0

12:37pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Swindon1984 says...

Digby22 wrote:
WirralRed wrote: Yes, i'd forgotten about him completely. No reason why he can't figure even if he's not going to be there next year surely?
Why play someone who isn't going to be here next season - far better to develop the players and form better understanding of each others play. Safe mid table is the ideal time to blood some of the young/fringe players
Going to play devil's advocate for a bit...

Agree up to a point with what you've said above but you also want to win games - or at least put out a team that can compete. I personally won't be too pushed leaving the county ground tomorrow evening if we've gotten beaten but at least made a good account of ourselves, but a lot of people will resent forking out if we play kids just to give them some game time and end up getting battered. We could get battered regardless, but all some people will think is if we're treating this like a friendly or a training match, why would I bother coming?

I'd juxtapose your position just as food for thought - why NOT play someone who won't be here next season? We're paying their wages regardless and effectively saying they'll never play for us again. The youngsters will be here and get a chance to prove themselves at some point if they're good enough. I've thought N'Guessan looked very good for us when played up front and him and Ranger would be a cracking partnership if both fit and out of trouble. Leaving N'Guessan to waste out his days as a town player irks me a bit.
[quote][p][bold]Digby22[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]WirralRed[/bold] wrote: Yes, i'd forgotten about him completely. No reason why he can't figure even if he's not going to be there next year surely?[/p][/quote]Why play someone who isn't going to be here next season - far better to develop the players and form better understanding of each others play. Safe mid table is the ideal time to blood some of the young/fringe players[/p][/quote]Going to play devil's advocate for a bit... Agree up to a point with what you've said above but you also want to win games - or at least put out a team that can compete. I personally won't be too pushed leaving the county ground tomorrow evening if we've gotten beaten but at least made a good account of ourselves, but a lot of people will resent forking out if we play kids just to give them some game time and end up getting battered. We could get battered regardless, but all some people will think is if we're treating this like a friendly or a training match, why would I bother coming? I'd juxtapose your position just as food for thought - why NOT play someone who won't be here next season? We're paying their wages regardless and effectively saying they'll never play for us again. The youngsters will be here and get a chance to prove themselves at some point if they're good enough. I've thought N'Guessan looked very good for us when played up front and him and Ranger would be a cracking partnership if both fit and out of trouble. Leaving N'Guessan to waste out his days as a town player irks me a bit. Swindon1984
  • Score: 0

12:50pm Fri 11 Apr 14

ya mums got facial hair says...

Oh yea coops moan about smith,
The week before he said the fans was wrong to have a go at him,
Double standards you hypocrite
Oh yea coops moan about smith, The week before he said the fans was wrong to have a go at him, Double standards you hypocrite ya mums got facial hair
  • Score: -2

1:06pm Fri 11 Apr 14

WirralRed says...

Swindon1984 wrote:
Digby22 wrote:
WirralRed wrote: Yes, i'd forgotten about him completely. No reason why he can't figure even if he's not going to be there next year surely?
Why play someone who isn't going to be here next season - far better to develop the players and form better understanding of each others play. Safe mid table is the ideal time to blood some of the young/fringe players
Going to play devil's advocate for a bit...

Agree up to a point with what you've said above but you also want to win games - or at least put out a team that can compete. I personally won't be too pushed leaving the county ground tomorrow evening if we've gotten beaten but at least made a good account of ourselves, but a lot of people will resent forking out if we play kids just to give them some game time and end up getting battered. We could get battered regardless, but all some people will think is if we're treating this like a friendly or a training match, why would I bother coming?

I'd juxtapose your position just as food for thought - why NOT play someone who won't be here next season? We're paying their wages regardless and effectively saying they'll never play for us again. The youngsters will be here and get a chance to prove themselves at some point if they're good enough. I've thought N'Guessan looked very good for us when played up front and him and Ranger would be a cracking partnership if both fit and out of trouble. Leaving N'Guessan to waste out his days as a town player irks me a bit.
Thanks Swindon 1984 :)

You've summed up my point really. I like to see the youngsters play & give them every chance - that's what made the Don & co in the 60's such an exciting team even if they lost...
but we're paying his wages so he should earn it if he's fit. He holds the ball up well & that's what we're missing cf. Cooper.

no time for more... I have to get back to work & earn my pay :)
[quote][p][bold]Swindon1984[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Digby22[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]WirralRed[/bold] wrote: Yes, i'd forgotten about him completely. No reason why he can't figure even if he's not going to be there next year surely?[/p][/quote]Why play someone who isn't going to be here next season - far better to develop the players and form better understanding of each others play. Safe mid table is the ideal time to blood some of the young/fringe players[/p][/quote]Going to play devil's advocate for a bit... Agree up to a point with what you've said above but you also want to win games - or at least put out a team that can compete. I personally won't be too pushed leaving the county ground tomorrow evening if we've gotten beaten but at least made a good account of ourselves, but a lot of people will resent forking out if we play kids just to give them some game time and end up getting battered. We could get battered regardless, but all some people will think is if we're treating this like a friendly or a training match, why would I bother coming? I'd juxtapose your position just as food for thought - why NOT play someone who won't be here next season? We're paying their wages regardless and effectively saying they'll never play for us again. The youngsters will be here and get a chance to prove themselves at some point if they're good enough. I've thought N'Guessan looked very good for us when played up front and him and Ranger would be a cracking partnership if both fit and out of trouble. Leaving N'Guessan to waste out his days as a town player irks me a bit.[/p][/quote]Thanks Swindon 1984 :) You've summed up my point really. I like to see the youngsters play & give them every chance - that's what made the Don & co in the 60's such an exciting team even if they lost... but we're paying his wages so he should earn it if he's fit. He holds the ball up well & that's what we're missing cf. Cooper. no time for more... I have to get back to work & earn my pay :) WirralRed
  • Score: 0

2:04pm Fri 11 Apr 14

meadowred says...

Smith had a few chances already and not set the team alight but has scored a few, perhaps time to give Connor Waldon a chance with Storey as played plenty of time together at Youth Level and Waldon will certainly put himself about and no scared to go in where it hurts and is very direct down the middle and a good finsher as proven at Gloucester City & Youth Level.
Smith had a few chances already and not set the team alight but has scored a few, perhaps time to give Connor Waldon a chance with Storey as played plenty of time together at Youth Level and Waldon will certainly put himself about and no scared to go in where it hurts and is very direct down the middle and a good finsher as proven at Gloucester City & Youth Level. meadowred
  • Score: 0

2:49pm Fri 11 Apr 14

LeGod says...

Meadowred - you cant throw Waldron in for this game for starters he is not ready and it would be unfair on him as Brentford are solid at the back for me although i dont rate him at all Smith has to start and i hope every hour of every day he is being told how to hold the ball up and not be dominated by centre backs as he has done in all the games so far. The problem is again tomorrow if he cant hold up the ball we are going to be under the cosh for long periods tomorrow. I just dont get how a player of Smiths size cant hold the ball up and torment defenders more than he currently does. I know he is tall but not a big build but even so nor is Ranger yet the diffference in class is miles apart and although i dont like criticising players he is a poor striker and to me is more suited to L2 than L1 unless he starts putting himself about and holding the ball up.
A very tough day is store tomorrow not only for Smith but also for the midfield as well so i hope all our players are on their game tomorrow as it would be nice to beat this lot especially after that play off game last season.
Meadowred - you cant throw Waldron in for this game for starters he is not ready and it would be unfair on him as Brentford are solid at the back for me although i dont rate him at all Smith has to start and i hope every hour of every day he is being told how to hold the ball up and not be dominated by centre backs as he has done in all the games so far. The problem is again tomorrow if he cant hold up the ball we are going to be under the cosh for long periods tomorrow. I just dont get how a player of Smiths size cant hold the ball up and torment defenders more than he currently does. I know he is tall but not a big build but even so nor is Ranger yet the diffference in class is miles apart and although i dont like criticising players he is a poor striker and to me is more suited to L2 than L1 unless he starts putting himself about and holding the ball up. A very tough day is store tomorrow not only for Smith but also for the midfield as well so i hope all our players are on their game tomorrow as it would be nice to beat this lot especially after that play off game last season. LeGod
  • Score: 0

3:28pm Fri 11 Apr 14

meadowred says...

LeGod wrote:
Meadowred - you cant throw Waldron in for this game for starters he is not ready and it would be unfair on him as Brentford are solid at the back for me although i dont rate him at all Smith has to start and i hope every hour of every day he is being told how to hold the ball up and not be dominated by centre backs as he has done in all the games so far. The problem is again tomorrow if he cant hold up the ball we are going to be under the cosh for long periods tomorrow. I just dont get how a player of Smiths size cant hold the ball up and torment defenders more than he currently does. I know he is tall but not a big build but even so nor is Ranger yet the diffference in class is miles apart and although i dont like criticising players he is a poor striker and to me is more suited to L2 than L1 unless he starts putting himself about and holding the ball up. A very tough day is store tomorrow not only for Smith but also for the midfield as well so i hope all our players are on their game tomorrow as it would be nice to beat this lot especially after that play off game last season.
LeGod agreed Waldon may not be ready but having watched him lots over a few years he may be ready, he would not let Town down and with a few games under his belt can only get better and may be a more equiped player for next season. A good comparison is Louis Thompson who once had a few games under his belt he deserves his role in the first team.
[quote][p][bold]LeGod[/bold] wrote: Meadowred - you cant throw Waldron in for this game for starters he is not ready and it would be unfair on him as Brentford are solid at the back for me although i dont rate him at all Smith has to start and i hope every hour of every day he is being told how to hold the ball up and not be dominated by centre backs as he has done in all the games so far. The problem is again tomorrow if he cant hold up the ball we are going to be under the cosh for long periods tomorrow. I just dont get how a player of Smiths size cant hold the ball up and torment defenders more than he currently does. I know he is tall but not a big build but even so nor is Ranger yet the diffference in class is miles apart and although i dont like criticising players he is a poor striker and to me is more suited to L2 than L1 unless he starts putting himself about and holding the ball up. A very tough day is store tomorrow not only for Smith but also for the midfield as well so i hope all our players are on their game tomorrow as it would be nice to beat this lot especially after that play off game last season.[/p][/quote]LeGod agreed Waldon may not be ready but having watched him lots over a few years he may be ready, he would not let Town down and with a few games under his belt can only get better and may be a more equiped player for next season. A good comparison is Louis Thompson who once had a few games under his belt he deserves his role in the first team. meadowred
  • Score: 1

7:18am Sat 12 Apr 14

ciclosporindorset says...

meadowred wrote:
LeGod wrote:
Meadowred - you cant throw Waldron in for this game for starters he is not ready and it would be unfair on him as Brentford are solid at the back for me although i dont rate him at all Smith has to start and i hope every hour of every day he is being told how to hold the ball up and not be dominated by centre backs as he has done in all the games so far. The problem is again tomorrow if he cant hold up the ball we are going to be under the cosh for long periods tomorrow. I just dont get how a player of Smiths size cant hold the ball up and torment defenders more than he currently does. I know he is tall but not a big build but even so nor is Ranger yet the diffference in class is miles apart and although i dont like criticising players he is a poor striker and to me is more suited to L2 than L1 unless he starts putting himself about and holding the ball up. A very tough day is store tomorrow not only for Smith but also for the midfield as well so i hope all our players are on their game tomorrow as it would be nice to beat this lot especially after that play off game last season.
LeGod agreed Waldon may not be ready but having watched him lots over a few years he may be ready, he would not let Town down and with a few games under his belt can only get better and may be a more equiped player for next season. A good comparison is Louis Thompson who once had a few games under his belt he deserves his role in the first team.
He may not be ready but if not given the chance now he may never get it. With his contract out of time in June surely he has to be given a couple of goes.
[quote][p][bold]meadowred[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]LeGod[/bold] wrote: Meadowred - you cant throw Waldron in for this game for starters he is not ready and it would be unfair on him as Brentford are solid at the back for me although i dont rate him at all Smith has to start and i hope every hour of every day he is being told how to hold the ball up and not be dominated by centre backs as he has done in all the games so far. The problem is again tomorrow if he cant hold up the ball we are going to be under the cosh for long periods tomorrow. I just dont get how a player of Smiths size cant hold the ball up and torment defenders more than he currently does. I know he is tall but not a big build but even so nor is Ranger yet the diffference in class is miles apart and although i dont like criticising players he is a poor striker and to me is more suited to L2 than L1 unless he starts putting himself about and holding the ball up. A very tough day is store tomorrow not only for Smith but also for the midfield as well so i hope all our players are on their game tomorrow as it would be nice to beat this lot especially after that play off game last season.[/p][/quote]LeGod agreed Waldon may not be ready but having watched him lots over a few years he may be ready, he would not let Town down and with a few games under his belt can only get better and may be a more equiped player for next season. A good comparison is Louis Thompson who once had a few games under his belt he deserves his role in the first team.[/p][/quote]He may not be ready but if not given the chance now he may never get it. With his contract out of time in June surely he has to be given a couple of goes. ciclosporindorset
  • Score: 0

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