Edwards not expecting to get any friendly advice this time from Reds boss Cooper

Luton chief is close friends with his opposite number at the City Ground
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Hatters boss Rob Edwards isn’t expecting to get any help on this occasion from opposite number Steve Cooper as the pair go head-to-head in the dug-out for the first time at the City Ground this afternoon.

The pair struck up a friendship a number of years ago now, when they were both starting out on their managerial journey, before working with the FA when Edwards was with the England U16s and Cooper the U17s.

The Nottingham Forest chief was one of the managers, along with Ian Holloway, that Edwards turned to for advice when looking to navigate Luton through the tricky waters of the play-offs last term, Cooper himself having won them with the Reds the previous year to reach the top flight.

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper - pic: Bryn Lennon/Getty ImagesNottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper - pic: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper - pic: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Although he was more than happy to help out then, the Hatters boss knows such tips and hints won’t be as forthcoming in the build-up to today’s Premier League fixture, saying: “I don’t think so, no!

"We’ll both be wanting our teams to win, hopefully we can have a drink after the game.

"We’ll be mates whatever, but when that whistle goes, we’ll just be desperate to win.

"I leaned on Coops a lot during that period, he’d gone through it, gone through three play-off campaigns before that, but had success the year before us.

"So he gave me some real good help during that month, that build-up to that time, he was really helpful for us.

“I go back a long way with Coops.

"He’s a top man, a really, really good coach, someone I’ve been able to pick his brains over the last few years as well, so I’m looking forward to seeing him.

"It was when I was on my A Licence with Wales, he came and delivered on the A Licence course.

"We got to know each other there and struck up a bit of a friendship since then really, so I’m delighted to see how he’s done over the last few years.”

Having won the U17 World Cup in October 2017, beating Spain 5-2 with a team including Phil Foden and Jaden Sancho, Cooper made a fine start to life as a number one at Swansea City in June 2019, leading the Welsh side to the Championship play-off final, only to lose out against Brentford.

He left in the summer of 2021, quickly getting the Forest job and enjoying play-off success at the second time of asking, defeating Huddersfield Town 1-0 in the final.

After reaching the Premier League, Cooper faced intense speculation that his job was under threat, but managed to see off those rumours, remaining at the helm to guide Forest to top top flight safety.

Asked about his career to date, Edwards added: “Amazing, whatever he’s had now, four and half years now in management, he’s been very successful.

"What he’s done at that football club is, no-one else has been able to do that in a long, long time, so he deserves a lot of credit.

"He’s had that and got that, they’re doing well again this season.

"They’ve got a strong group and they’re really competing in every single game, so he deserves a lot of credit, but hopefully we can get one over on him although it will be another tough one for us.”