THE desire shown by his players in the latter stages of matches is the key to Swindon Town’s improved away form in 2014/15, according to manager Mark Cooper.
Town recorded just five away victories in all competitions last term, with their first league success on the road coming at Rotherham United on October 12.
This time around they have already notched up three victories – two of which have been in cups – all by the same 2-1 scoreline. For Cooper, the fact his players have toughened up mentally is a major part in that.
“I spoke about it last year, and I know I got a bit of stick from people saying I was using it as an excuse, that the players would get better with age,” he said.
“They were a young group and they’d never played senior football before. It’s like any job – the more you do and the more times you do it, the better you get at it.
“We’re working on it defensively and we’re trying to be a bit more resolute away from home but I’m convinced it’s the experience of playing games.
“The desire not to get beat late on in games where people are throwing bodies in the way or making sure we go back to what we’ve worked on to get us out of trouble late on in a game, when it does become rocky (has been good to see).”
While Town haven’t suffered from homesickness on their travels thus far this season, Cooper is still not fully satisfied with a rearguard which has conceded just six goals in five games away from the County Ground.
“For me we still need to be tighter, we are still conceding too many goals,” he said. “We know what the reasons are but it’s constantly working and working and making sure we do.
“Usually the goals are from crosses and we’ve not marked in the box properly and that’s something we’re working on daily.”