Yeovil Town boss Mark Cooper is hoping to take advantage of the “risks at the back” taken by this weekend’s opponents Worthing.

He described them as “as a pure football side” but clearly believes there are areas which his table-topping side can exploit when they travel to West Sussex.

The Rebels sit in fifth place after a winning six of their first eight National League South matches, but have drawn two and lost one of their last three.

Asked about his side’s next opponents in his pre-match press conference on Thursday, Cooper said: “They are a pure football team and try and play it, they take a lot of risks at the back with the goalkeeper.

They are a team with good players in it and, as I say every week, we will do our homework and give them due respect and make sure we are ready to be really good without the ball but stick to our principles and what we are doing.

Asked about the artificial surface at the Sussex Transport Community Stadium – in a clear violation of the latest Gloverscast rule – the boss said his side would train on the artificial surface at Huish Park on Friday before travelling to the South Coast.

Their only two defeats of the campaign have come on non-grass surface at Hemel Hempstead Town on the opening day of the season and then at Havant & Waterlooville on August Bank Holiday.

Cooper said: “We will train on the 3G (surface at Huish Park) tomorrow (Friday). We obviously have a disadvantage, there’s no hiding the fact that those teams who play on (a 3G surface) have a distinct advantage, it’s their own (surface) and every one is different.

But we can’t use that as an excuse, we have to find a way and we will try and do that. We all know what we think of them, but we’ve just got to get on with it.”

Charlie Cooper is still expected to be missing this weekend.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

The manager said that he had “the same group” of players available as last weekend’s 2-0 home win over Southend United in the FA Cup.

Then he was without midfielder Charlie Cooper and defender Jamie Sendles-White, the latter having been missing with an Achilles problem he picked up at the start of September.

Unfortunately, if you wanted to know anything about the progress of Cooper or Sendles-White or even the arrival on loan of Exeter City striker Sonny Cox there were no questions asked about the new arrival in the press conference. *face, palm*

Cooper spoke positively about the performance of his central defensive pairing Morgan Williams and Jake Wannell during the win over Southend.

The pair combined to keep the National League Premier’s joint-second top-scorer, Harry Cardwell, off the scoresheet with Wannell also weighing in with his fourth goal of the season courtesy of a stunning opener.

He said: “We spoke a while back about partnerships and trying to improve those relationships in the team. Morgan (Williams) and Jake (Wannell), Morgs is really quick and Jake is really aggressive so when Jake is winning headers, Morgs can cover with his pace and we have got a really good balance between them.

We have done a lot of work structuring at the back of the pitch and making sure we are really organised without the ball and it is starting to show.

Morgan Williams ? Mike Kunz

The Glovers were drawn at home against another National League Premier outfit, Gateshead, in the FA Cup First Round Proper.

The Tyneside outfit lost 3-1 in their visit to Huish Park in September 2022, but exacted revenge in the reverse fixture in April with a scintillating performance in a 4-0 win as Yeovil plunged towards relegation.

Asked about the opponents, Cooper said: “I know they are the best footballing team I have seen in the National League this season having watched a few of their games. We beat them here and then we went up there and they destroyed us when we were in freefall, turmoil as a club.

But the way they played was very impressive and I have watched some of their games (this season) and they are the best pure football team in the National League.

Gateshead lost manager Mike Williamson who took the manager’s job at League Two side MK Dons this week following the sacking of Graham Alexander.

On that departure, Cooper added: “Obviously they have lost their manager because he has done really well and we will see now whether there’s any disruption to their set up. Subconsciously it will effect their players because they may be wondering whether he will come on get them.

On paper it is a really tough tie but I am sure they will be looking at us and thinking that is a difficult tie. They have to travel seven hours to Somerset and play against a team that is unbeaten at home and flying.

If you’re interested in Cooper’s view on ex-Yeovil player Tom Knowles, now with Walsall (sorry, Ian) being tripped by Gillingham boss Keith Millen, listen to the end of the press conference which you can watch here.


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