Yeovil Town manager Mark Cooper says he is hopeful that some of his injured players may return for this weekend’s trip to Tonbridge Angels.

The Glovers were without influential right-back Michael Smith and midfielder Charlie Cooper as they went down to a 2-1 defeat, their first since the end of November, at Maidstone United last weekend.

He also confirmed that strikers Rhys Murphy and Jake Hyde would be missing for “months rather than weeks” and defender Jamie Sendles-White, who has not featured since suffering an Achilles injury at the end of September, left the club by mutual consent on Thursday evening.

Speaking on Thursday afternoon, the boss said: “We have got some bumps and bruises. We have done really well up until now and we have had a spell where we have picked up some key injuries and we are trying to get them back as quick as we can. We might have a couple back for Saturday.

Murph and Hydey, you are talking months rather than weeks, so we are not looking at them playing any significant part for the forseeable future. But that is football, we are not a club like some that moan about injuries. All I know if that whoever comes in to the team will be trying their socks off to do a job for the squad.

Rhys Murphy has been missing since picking up a hamstring injury last month.
Picture courtesy of Gary Brown

Cooper was also asked about midfielder Scott Pollock, who arrived last March under the ‘stewardship’ of SU Glovers during the period they were attempting to complete a takeover at Huish Park last year, but has not featured this season.

The former Northampton Town man revealed he had undergone an operation in November.

The manager said: “He had an operation nearly 13 weeks ago which I think everyone thought he would be fit and ready to play by now but he’s apparently not fit yet, so that is frustrating for him.

Asked when the 22-year-old could be available, the boss said: “God knows! He’s been here for 13 months and he’s not been fit in that time, so how long is a piece of string. I would think a player of his age would want to play football, so I imagine it would frustrating for Scott.

The Glovers make a trip to Kent for the second time in as many weeks on Saturday to face a Tonbridge side sat in 11th place in the National League South table. They picked up a 2-0 home win over Chippenham Town last weekend and have only been beaten four teams at their Longmead Stadium home.

The club play on a “FIFA Quality Pro 3G artificial playing surface” which was installed at the start of last season and Cooper reiterated his dislike for the inconsistent quality of non-grass pitches, laying the blame squarely at the door of the National League.

He said: “I do not like them, I think it’s a totally different game. At National League level, I don’t think it should be allowed, but I get why it is. We have to play on them and we will make no excuses.

I do not understand the National League as an organisation, how have they allowed that to happen? Unless the league says that a club’s pitch has to be of a certain standard, as teams which ground-share with rugby teams have to have, then you know you are going to have issues.

Taunton Town’s Wordsworth Drive pitch at the end of last weekend’s match with Truro. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

In the division, Truro City, who Yeovil are due to travel to in a yet to be rescheduled fixture following a postponement last month, announced they will ground-share with Taunton Town until the end of the season.

The Cornish outfit had been ground-sharing with Southern League Plymouth Parkway, whose Bolitho Park surface is not famed for its quality, and appear to have swapped one problem for another by opting for Wordsworth Drive, which has suffered numerous postponements due to waterlogging this season.

Cooper believes that teams still scheduled to travel to face Truro should be given the option to host games.

He said: “It doesn’t come as any surprise. Plymouth Parkway’s pitch always seems to be a problem and the National League still let it happen, so I do not blame Truro, I blame the National League for letting it happen.

If we have a game cancelled, we have to fit it in within so many days and, if we don’t, everyone at the National League is screaming. But our game at Truro is cancelled and we are told ‘there’s no rush to fit it in, we are not even looking at the date yet’ because that suits the National League.

Credibility-wise, it is not a good look, but I understand why Truro are doing it because they still have 13 home games left this season in what will be nine weeks after their game on Saturday is called off at Taunton.

So it is just a bit of a shambles for me. The teams that still have to play Truro away should be offered the opportunity to play them at home, if they can get that game on.

If you wondered whether Cooper was making a prediction about the viability of Truro’s first match in Somerset’s county town against Eastbourne Borough this weekend, the game (as of 6pm on Thursday night) is subject to a pitch inspection on at 8am on Friday. Roll out the ‘pretends to be surprised’ memes.

 


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