Sheffield United: Rival pays tribute to Blades star

Jay McEveley made 79 appearances for Swindon Town before joining Sheffield United � copyright : Blades Sports Photography
Jay McEveley made 79 appearances for Swindon Town before joining Sheffield United � copyright : Blades Sports Photography
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Mark Cooper has urged Swindon Town supporters to give Jay McEveley a rousing reception when he returns to Wiltshire this afternoon, writes James Shield.

But the Sheffield United defender, who will be making his first appearance at the County Ground since joining Nigel Clough’s side last month, was warned to expect no favours whatsoever out on the pitch.

McEveley spent nearly 12 months playing under Cooper at Swindon and the 45-year-old, whose team are seventh in the League One table, said: “I hope Jay gets a good one because he was outstanding for me. He made it easy for me when I became manager, was one of the more experienced voices in the changing room and his form was outstanding towards the end of last season.

“I know he was a crowd favourite at the end of last year. When he came off in the Rotherham game he got a standing ovation which was thoroughly deserved and I’m looking forward to seeing him.

“Whether he plays I don’t know. Of course we’re going to get Byrnie (Nathan Byrne) to try and take him on, to twist and turn and do what he does and see what happens.”

Like United, who are a place and a point above them in the rankings, Swindon are unbeaten in their last five league outings.

“Sheffield United are in the league for a reason,” Cooper said. “They haven’t done well enough over the last couple of years but if you look at their form since Nigel’s been there, it would be promotion form.

“They’ll come and ask questions of us, they’ll press the ball and try and make it an entertaining game I’m sure.

“Nigel’s teams are amazingly hard working. When you play they close you down, they press and they don’t give you a minute and he insists on that so they’re more of a team unit.

“They’ve got threats all over the pitch but for me they’re a solid good team.”

Cooper added: “United had a fantastic win (at Colchester) the other night after being 2-0 down, coming back to win with three goals in the last seven minutes. So we’re under no illusions, it’s going to be a real tough game.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1