MARK Cooper hopes Jay McEveley receives a fond welcome from the Swindon Town crowd when he returns to the County Ground with his new employers this weekend.
McEveley became a fans’ favourite in Wiltshire during two, injury-interrupted seasons in Wiltshire but was released when his contract at the club expired at the end of last since and joined Sheffield United over the course of the summer.
He is expected to be part of the Blades’ matchday squad for their League One trip to Swindon and Cooper is pretty confident he will be well received by supporters.
“I hope he gets a good one because certainly while I’ve been at the football club he was outstanding. He worked really hard to get himself back from a terrible knee injury and he made it easy for me when I became manager,” Cooper said.
“He was one of the more experienced voices in the changing room and his form was outstanding towards the end of last season. I hope he gets a really got reception. I know he was a crowd favourite at the end of last year and when he came off at the end of the Rotherham game he got a standing ovation, which was thoroughly deserved. I’m looking forward to seeing him.”
Cooper is unsure whether McEveley will start the game but, if he does, he intends to let Nathan Byrne loose on the experienced, former Scotland international.
“I don’t know if he’ll play because he came off at half-time the other night. They were losing when he came off and then they came back and won so whether he plays I don’t know. We’re going to get Byrney to take him on and twist and turn and do what he does. We’ll see what happens,” he said.
“He’ll be desperate to come back and play and show what a good player he is. I know he really enjoyed his time here.”