Steve Cooper | Friendly a big boost for minutes and match fitness
Steve Cooper believes Swansea City’s 2-1 pre-season friendly win over Forest Green Rovers will boost his team’s preparations going into the 2020-21 campaign.
The Swans face their first competitive fixture of the season this Saturday when they visit Newport County in the Carabao Cup first round.
And they go into it on the back of a friendly victory over Forest Green Rovers, with goals from summer signing Jamal Lowe – his first for the club since arriving from Wigan - and Yan Dhanda sending them on their way.
The fixture also saw Joe Rodon, Jake Bidwell, Jay Fulton and Korey Smith feature for the whole match, which topped up their game-time ahead of Saturday’s trip to Rodney Parade.
And Cooper was full of positives as he reflected on a useful exercise.
“There were loads of different returns from the game - first and foremost it was important to get some extra minutes with some players playing 90,” said the Swans boss.
“Some players like Joe haven’t played 90 minutes since West Brom in March last season, so it was important for him to get over that step. I thought he looked strong and fair play to him for returning again from injury in such good physical condition.
“A couple of others got 90 minutes too which was good.
“There were players playing a lot more minutes than they have done in a while. Players like Morgan Gibbs-White got 70 minutes and Kyle Naughton returned a little bit later than everyone else so it was a step up for him as well. While Jamal was another one who got 70 minutes under his belt.”
He added: “It was a good game in terms of getting the right physical returns and on the minutes front it was good. We got some football returns and we looked a threat in the first-half when we did time our runs in behind and our passes in behind and Jamal’s goal showed that.
“There were some other times when we fell a little bit short of what we would like but I think that is to be expected as we are only about 10 days back in. It isn’t going to be perfect straight away.
“In a lot of ways there was progress made and we need to make sure that we stay on the upward curve and try and get to where we need to be.”