SWINDON boss Mark Cooper admitted there is still work to be done on his side’s defence following their 4-1 victory over an Aston Villa XI this afternoon.
Ben Gladwin scored twice and Louis Thompson and Andy Williams once as Town disposed of a youthful Villa side, including first team players Matt Lowton and Joe Bennett, with the Robins’ midfield dominant over their largely teenage opposition.
However, there were still some shaky moments for the back three of Josh Lelan, Raphael Branco and potential loan signing Jordan Turnbull, with Cooper admitting they are far from the finished article.
“It was a useful exercise for us and we’ve managed to get through with no injuries, a week before the season, and we’ve scored some goal,” he said.
“Yes it was a young Aston Villa team with a couple of first team players in it but overall I think we did okay.
“I learnt we need to do some work on our shape of the back three, getting caught with a long ball over the top, and maybe take less risks when playing out from the back because at times it’s heart attack material.
“We have two boys in there who are new in Jordan Turnbull and Josh Lelan, and we could have another one or two defenders coming so it is a new defence and it’s going to take time.
“We have to do as much work as we can this week to make sure it’s a little bit tighter.
“We want to play the defence high so we consistently press the opposition into their own half and not give them a chance to get out.”
Town’s new style of play, with three centre-halves flanked by two attacking full-backs, requires goalkeeper Wes Foderingham to act as a sweeper and, despite a couple of heart in mouth moments, Cooper has been pleased with how his stopper has adapted.
“Wes, I’ve had a chat with him and he has to understand that when it’s not on he sometimes has to kick it in the stand,” he said.
“He’s the best goalkeeper and he’s improved 100 per cent in playing the ball out the back with his feet, and he’s a very good goalkeeper so we’re very happy.
Cooper was also full of praise for midfielder Ben Gladwin’s display, which saw the former Marlow man score twice from the centre of midfield.
“We know Ben’s got that and it’s about him producing it on the big stage, so if he can do that we’ve got a helluva player because he’s got ridiculous ability,” Cooper said.
“He’s another one in our list of very good midfield players. I wanted Ben playing up in behind Michael Smith because he’s got goals in him and he can go past people.
“In my opinion he can play anywhere on the pitch because he’s got tremendous ability.”