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Mark Cooper plays down occasion as Swindon Town prepare to face Sheffield United

7 May 2015

Swindon Town manager Mark Cooper has played down the occasion of the Play-Offs ahead of his side's semi-final first leg at Sheffield United.

The Robins finished fourth in Sky Bet League 1, eight points ahead of the fifth-placed Blades, but ended the regular season without a win in five.

And the manager has told his players to dismiss the excitement of the Play-Offs, focusing on the match ahead of them at what will be a packed out Bramall Lane.

“Once all the build-up is done, you have to play the game,” he told STFC Player.

“I’ll be stressing to the players to concentrate on the game. Just go and play, it’s 11 versus 11, the pitch is green, the ball is round and the only difference is there’s going to be 30,000 people there.

“It’s on the day and whoever performs the best on the day will go through, experience or no experience.”

Cooper led Darlington to FA Trophy success at Wembley in 2011 and has experience in the Sky Bet Championship, albeit brief, when he was manager of Peterborough United in 2009/10.

But the 46-year-old, who has been in charge at the County Ground since August 2013, has said this year's Play-Offs is the 'biggest test' of his managerial career.

He added: “Now, for me, is big and probably the biggest test of my managerial career in terms of trying to get to a Play-Off Final.

“We know it’s going to be tough but come Thursday we’ll be ready. We’re trying to be as organised and as prepared as we can. We concentrate on ourselves and do what we do well, and give the players the information they need on the opposition.”

Follow The Sky Bet Football League Play-Offs on Twitter @football_league, on Facebook by searching The Football League and on Instagram @footballleague, using #PlayOffs.

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