Yeovil Town boss Mark Cooper has said he believes the new arrivals in to his squad will improve competition.
The manager has brought in forward Jordan Young and midfielders Charlie Cooper and Chesterfield loanee Jack Clarke in the past week, as well as signing play-maker Jordan Maguire-Drew on a permanent deal.
The three incomings follow the departures of strikers Louis Britton and Jake Scrimshaw and the return of midfielder Jamie Andrews to his parent club West Bromwich Albion.
Speaking about the new arrivals ahead of this weekend’s home match with Altrincham, the boss said:
Jack Clarke: “Jack brings us quality in the middle of the pitch, he is left-footed, he moves with the ball very well, and all our recent signings give us more competition and improve the squad.
“He was playing every game when they were top of the league at the start of last year and they were flying. I have seen him play on numerous occasions and he is a very tidy player who can make things happen with that left foot. He gives us an added bit to our armoury and improves us.”
Jordan Young: “Jordan is an exciting, young forward who has bags of potential. He has scored some brilliant goals and can be a match winner, but he has to adjust to full-time football game, so we have to get him really fit and conditioned to last the rigours of full-time football.”
Charlie Cooper: “Charlie has experience at this level and he knows what it takes to win regularly at this level, so they both improve us.” And on the subject of the midfielder being his son, the boss added: “Let’s judge him on the pitch and not who he is related to. I would not have brought him in if I didn’t think he could do the job, he has been at this level already and I have brought him in to improve the squad.”
He added: “They all improve and help our squad. You can’t win consistently with 11 players and we need competition with all areas and the players we have brought in improve us.
“Maguire-Drew is a top player for this level and now he’s settled, he can concentrate on his football and really get stuck in to it.”
Clarke joined ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Barnet which was postponed less than two hours before kick-off with Cooper, the team and supporters already having arrived at The Hive.
The manager was in no doubt the game should have been postponed far sooner, saying: “I don’t think there’s any need to drag a team and supporters all that way when you know what is going to happen. The pitch is not going to get any softer between 4pm and 6pm, is it?
“It would have been easier to call it off as other teams did on Tuesday night. It is just a bit embarrassing for Barnet rather than for us and I just feel sorry for the supporters who had to travel all that way.
“We had staff there in the afternoon and they said the pitch was rock hard, but you have to take it as it is and make sure we are well-prepared for a tough game against a good Altrincham team.”
He said that the team had trained at Huish Park this week and described the pitches as “perfect”. Asked if the match with Altrincham was at risk, he said: “The groundsman has assured us that Saturday will not be an issue.”
Huish Park’s groundsman Stuart Antell tweeted a picture on Wednesday showing a frosty-looking pitch.
— Stuart Antell (@melon2711) January 18, 2023
Speaking immediately after the 4-1 defeat at Bromley last weekend, the manager said he had decisions to make about his side who conceded four for the first time in a season and a half-and-a-half and missed some golden opportunities to score.
Asked whether he had thought any more on those decisions, he said: “As a manager I am always making decisions whether it is training schedules, the type of training, team selection or tactics, so I am always making decisions.
“When I look back at the game, we weren’t actually that bad. We were 2-0 down after (32 minutes) and the whole game plan goes out of the window. We gambled and put as many forward players as we had on the pitch and it became a bit of a basketball game, but we had more chances in that game than in any game since I have been here.”
In particular, on loan Peterborough United forward Andrew Oluwabori and Maguire-Drew missed some golden opportunities to pull the Yeovil back in to the game and Cooper said he was confident they would do better against Altrincham at the weekend.
He added: “We have to react and move on to the next one, I have every faith that the boys who missed the chances (we created at Bromley) will score them if they get them on Saturday.”
Cooper also confirmed on loan AFC Bournemouth defender Owen Bevan who be available against Altrincham having missed out last weekend. He said: “Bev’s pace gives us an ability to defend higher up the pitch and any team would miss a player of that calibre. He’s back and fit and ready to go on Saturday.”
Prior to that, the Glovers had only lost once in their previous ten games, that being the defeat on penalties to Dorking Wanderers in the FA Trophy – and it’s great to see the Somerset Men’s Premier Cup win over Taunton Town given the respect it deserves.
He added: “It’s good that everyone is upset at losing a game because we have raised expectations where people think we are going to get a result in every game.
“We have to move on quickly, we know where we went wrong and we have to be better on Saturday.
“The players’ warm up was getting snow off the pitch, we managed to get half-a-pitch (on Wednesday) to do some work and (on Thursday) we have done some more tactical work with the new boys.
“It was good to get more time on the training pitch which was much needed to help them gel.”
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