Speaking to STFC PlayerHD, the manager says that the younger players that are having to step into the starting XI are having to learn quickly on the job.
“We have injury worries over (Bradley) Barry, (Rapha) Branco, (Yaser) Kasim and Anton Rodgers,” he said. “It’s not easy, there’s no denying that but I’m loathe to use it as an excuse. It’s difficult when you’ve got that many of your frontline players unavailable. It’s not as if they’re a game or two - the bulk are over an 8/10 game period but the boys that are having to play are having play quicker than we expected. They are having to grow up really quickly and are learning an awful lot. It will stand them in good stead for the future.
“Yaser’s been away on international duty and has had an injection so we’re waiting to see if that settles down in time for him to play on Saturday. Rapha Branco has had a tight groin so we’re going to leave him as late as we can and Anton Rodgers has got a sprained ankle.”
He continued: “You know what to expect at Millwall. Having played there myself, the fans want blood and guts, high tempo, high energy football so Neil (Harris) has to marry the two together. We know what to expect and we have to stand up to it but it will be a good experience for the young players to be part of the squad and part of the team.”
Jordan Stewart scored the only goal of the game for a Town development side at Bristol Rovers this week and, after suffering from homesickness over the past few weeks, Cooper says that the forward has been a much chirpier character at Calne since his return.
“He’s been really bright this week,” he said. “The lads have closed ranks around him making sure his time’s occupied. He’s come back with a spring in his step and he looked really good on Tuesday at Bristol Rovers.
“Ty Belford has taken him under his wing – he’s been cooking him dinner and playing FIFA with him and some of the other boys have been chauffeuring him about. We’re hoping he’s going to be fine.”
“This week he’s been laughing and joking. We’ve had a bit of fun and he feels part of the squad now.”
To see the full interview with the manager, click HERE to go to STFC PlayerHD.