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Cooper: No pressure on Swindon

Mark Cooper is taking inspiration from Bradford's Capital One Cup run last season as Swindon welcome Chelsea to County Ground.

Last Updated: 25/09/13 at 17:51   

Mark Cooper: Ready for the big boys

Mark Cooper: Ready for the big boys

Jose Mourinho's first domestic cup tie since returning to English football sees them tackle a Sky Bet League One outfit who are no strangers to giant killing.

They pulled off one of the upsets of the round as they deposed of QPR 2-0 last month and Harry Redknapp's men are in good company. Since the start of 2012 Swindon have taken the scalps of Stoke, Brighton, Burnley and Wigan in various cup competitions.

Cooper, therefore, is well aware of the performances underdogs can produce in this competition when the footballing world expects defeat.

"There is no pressure on us, if you do lose everyone expects it," he said. "We're going to play and use it as a no-pressure game and hopefully we'll play freely and enjoy it.

It's a bonus game for us because no one really gives you a hope when you're playing against a team as big as Chelsea.
Mark Cooper

"It's a bonus game for us because no one really gives you a hope when you're playing against a team as big as Chelsea.

"When you play in the Capital One Cup, sometimes you get drawn against teams who rest a lot of their players or all of their players so if they don't quite fancy it then you knock them out.

"That's what Bradford did last year - they had a great run and knocked out Arsenal and Aston Villa. You do take inspiration from that but whether Jose Mourinho lets that kind of thing happen I doubt very much."

Nile Ranger's late winner in the derby against Bristol City on Saturday means the visit of the Europa League champions comes at the perfect time for a Robins side full of confidence after their 3-2 victory.

Ryan Mason (thigh) and Ryan Harley (medial ligaments) will spend the next two weeks on the sidelines leaving their manager rather light in the middle of the park.

Tottenham loanee Alex Pritchard is available again after suspension to boost their numbers but right-back Nathan Byrne will sit out the third game of his three-match ban.

Alex Smith's knee injury has ruled him out while Aaron Oakley (foot) and Tijane Reis (knee) will not feature but Ranger looks set to start having relaunched his career after leaving Newcastle in the spring.

While Cooper's squad will certainly be stretched his opposite number looks set to unleash a number of his big names.

The Portuguese has already confirmed that Juan Mata, who scored 19 times and provided 35 assists last season, will start while the likes of Michael Essien, David Luiz and Ryan Bertrand and Cesar Azpilicueta are all expected to feature.

"We're fully aware that at any given moment the players that Chelsea have got can kill us," Cooper added. "The more of the big names the better for us because I think our players would like that. They would like to test themselves against the big boys and see how good they really are.

"We've got full respect to every one of the Chelsea players and their staff, we want them to play their strongest team."

The televised clash will be the first meeting between the sides since Glenn Hoddle's Blues got one over on his old employees and former assistant John Gorman back in 1994 thanks to goals from Gavin Peacock and Dennis Wise.

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

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