Manager Mark Cooper has said his Yeovil Town players will treat this weekend’s potential title decider with Worthing as “just another game.”

The Glovers know they need just three more points to be crowned National League South champions with five more games remaining – depending on the decision on whether the abandoned derby at W*ymouth is replayed. Second-placed Chelmsford City will have to be perfect to overtake them and host Slough Town this weekend.

With 4,000 tickets already confirmed as being sold, there is certain to be another big crowd inside Huish Park, but Cooper has banished any thoughts of being champions from his players’ minds.

Speaking on Thursday, the boss told 3 Valley Radio’s Adi Hopper and Si Thyer: “It is very rare you get an opportunity to win a league with five games to go and it shows well the players have done.

With the amount of expectation that is on us and having to be everyone’s cup final every week, so it is important we just see it as another game. It has to be like that.

I have no fear that the players will be up for it, I have no fear about the atmosphere, because what we are playing for will take care of that.

But we are playing against a really good team and we will have to be really on top of tactically, it is important we give them a problem with the way we play. We play really good, structured football, so it is important we carry a real threat which we did last Friday (in the 3-0 home win over Torquay United).

Whilst Yeovil were 1-0 behind when the game at W*ymouth was abandoned with 75 minutes on the clock on Easter Monday, there was a shock defeat for Chelmsford at bottom-placed Dover. But whilst all that was going on, Worthing picked up a 2-0 home win over fellow play-off hopefuls Hampton & Richmond, having won 5-1 at second-from-bottom Havant & Waterlooville on Good Friday.

Cooper is under no illusions about the quality of the visitors, who sit in fifth place in the table ahead of the weekend, especially the division’s top scorer, striker Ollie Pearce, who has got 36 goals in 40 appearances this year.

The Glovers’ boss said: “They are the best pure football team in the league in terms of the way they play, but it is high risk football. They are deep in their own third at the back to try and hit you in really dangerous areas in behind.

They are a really dangerous opposition to play against, you can see why they are top scorers in the league because they have some good, young players who have no fear and the top marksman in the league who has done really well.

They have a good young interim manager in Arran Racine who I managed at Forest Green, who was a really good footballer and he has carried on the good work of Adam Hinshelwood (who quit to join National League Premier side York City at the end of February).

In his pre-match press conferences, you will often hear Cooper refer to teams changing their playing style when they come to Huish Park, but he is not expecting that from Worthing.

He said: “Worthing will not change, they will try and play their game and full credit to them for that. It is a really good model they have down there and whoever is in charge they play the same way and that is why they are producing some good, young players.

They will fancy their chances and we have to make sure we are really aggressive in our structure and the way we play.

During the interview on Thursday, Cooper was repeatedly asked about his plans for beyond being crowned champions and admitted there were processes in place for if they secure an immediate return to the National League Premier, but steadfastly refused to be drawn on them.

He said: “Of course I have things in my mind like players’ contracts, potential transfer targets, but you have to have a certain organisation.

With the analysis we have at the club, there are certain (transfer) targets that are hitting those, but until we get to where we need to be, we cannot think of that.

“I am fully focused on getting the job done, it is a long way from being done. We respect totally Worthing and there will be no mention of anything other than us trying to put a solid performance in on Saturday.

If and when that happens, we will deal with that afterwards. We have to get three points. If we do that on Saturday, we will treat every game with the utmost respect because other clubs have their futures at stake.

On his own future beyond this season, he added: “I have another year on my contract, so I would love to do another year, for sure. I am really happy here. Last year we had a brilliant start, then we had some people come in that were a bit wet behind the ears in terms of recruitment, but under the new owner this year I have been given the chance to build a new squad and full credit to him and I have really enjoyed it.

Rhys Murphy came on for Olly Thomas in the 39th minute of Monday’s match at W*ymouth. Picture courtesy of Gary Brown.

Cooper said there was “nothing new” about his injury concerns with full-backs Michael Smith and Alex Whittle and striker Jake Hyde all certain to be missing. One assumes this answer means there is no return for on loan Reading striker Jahmari Clarke, who was not in the squad at W*ymouth with a quad injury, or midfielder Will Dawes.

However, he did speak about the importance of having striker Rhys Murphy back to match fitness.

The frontman, who has 13 goals this season, came off the substitutes’ bench in the 39th minute of the abandoned game at W*ymouth, his first appearance since picking up at injury in early January.

The manager said: “It is always good to have Murph in and around it. He is a good character and a good player, so it was great to see him back.

He said the club was still waiting on a decision from the National League about whether the derby match would have to be replayed, but admitted having minutes left in his players legs was important.

Cooper added: “It is in the hands of the National League. We viewed it that we had minutes left in their legs, so we have saved that in the tank and hopefully we can use that to our advantage on Saturday.

(The defeat for Chelmsford at Dover on Monday) shows you have to look after your own business first and keep doing what we are doing, if we do that then hopefully we get the right results. Of course the players want to look (at other results), but we just try to focus on what is in front of us.

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