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Cooper expecting toughest test yet at Eastleigh
SWINDON Town manager Mark Cooper is expecting a fierce test of his side’s credentials at non-league powerhouse Eastleigh tonight.
The Conference side have thrown money at their plan to reach the Football League in 2014/15, drafting in the likes of James Constable and Jack Midson on high wages, and the Hampshire team will present Cooper’s men with their stiffest examination of pre-season so far this evening.
However, the Robins boss stressed that he is not as concerned with the result at the Silverlake Stadium as he is with the stamina his players show and the shape they maintain on the pitch.
He told the Advertiser: “It’ll be a really tough ask for us, going into it with only one centre-half really, but we’ll try to dominate the ball as we usually do. It will be a really good test for us. It will test our fitness out.
“What we are trying to do is get as much out of this week as we can and if the players are tired going into a game we’re not too fussed about it because it’s pre-season. We want to get the maximum amount out of it. That means training, doing more work mentally and physically and probably going in to the game at Eastleigh tired.
“We’re not putting too much emphasis on the results. We’re trying to tweak the tactics side of it.
“I’ve not seen the odds but I’d imagine they’re one of the favourites to win the Conference. They’ll have a budget that’s probably up there with ours, if not more. That doesn’t guarantee anything but it’s a pre-season game and we’ll go there to try to make the most of it.“ Trialist Jonathan Vandesompele will play a part at Eastleigh tonight as Cooper and his coaching staff come to a conclusion of whether or not to keep the defender long-term.
Cooper said: “He’s done alright. He’s been here a couple of weeks and he’s done alright. We’ll make a decision on him at the end of the week.”
Andy Williams and Ben Gladwin, who missed the 5-2 victory at Petersfield on Tuesday night, are expected to feature, though Yaser Kasim is a doubt due to nerve damage in his foot.
TOWN supporters will be able to watch the Robins in action at Eastleigh tonight for just £8. The game at the Silverlake Stadium kicks off at 7pm, with prices as follows: Adults £8, concessions £4, under 12s free.