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Cooper: We must break the Miller’s stride
MARK Cooper is not expecting Rotherham United to be complacent when they pitch up in Wiltshire for the final game of the League One campaign tomorrow, despite the Yorkshire club already being assured of a play-off place.
Rotherham currently sit fifth in the table but could end the term third or fourth with victory over Swindon Town, depending on results elsewhere.
Robins manager Cooper is convinced that his Millers counterpart, the controversial Steve Evans, will not accept a meek performance from his team at the County Ground.
He said: “I think pyschology-wise I’m sure they’ll have one eye on the play-offs but they’ll be looking strategically about where they want to finish during the game. Whatever their manager wants to do - whether they want to decide who they play for it, whether they go for it, whether they want to be home or away in the first leg - they’ve got that luxury of deciding where they can finish during the game.
“That’ll be interesting to see but they’ll be coming here wanting to win, with the manager they’ve got.”
Cooper and Evans were involved in a heated exchange at Rotherham’s New York Stadium back in October, following Swindon’s 4-0 win, when the Scotsman accused his opposite number of taking too long to shake his hand post-match.
Evans may not be the flavour of football in general but Cooper did not take issue with that particular incident.
He said: “I get on well with Steve, I think he just loves the Saturday afternoons and going into battle with opposition coaches and managers. Whatever he says and does on the touchline is just the way he is. Once you look through that, I’ve got no problem with him.
“He’s always been fine with me and you take people as you find them. He had a bit of a go at me after the game, saying I took too long to shake his hand.
“(On Saturday) I’m going to sprint. Obviously the dug-outs are not as far apart as they are at Rotherham. I’m sure I’ll bump into him after the game and we’ll share a drink together.
“I just try to concentrate on what I’m trying to do and if that’s the way they do it then that’s fine by me. I’m fully focused on my team and what we’ve got to do to win or change things.”
While Town can no longer reach the top six, Cooper is still determined to end the campaign on a high and secure seventh place ahead of Sheffield United.
He said: “There are things to play for. We can still finish seventh, Sheffield United can still finish above us. I want to make sure we finish seventh and to do that we have to get a result. So we’ll be going all out to make sure we get a result.”
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