Yeovil Town manager Mark Cooper has said his side can have “no excuses” as they prepare for the start of the National League South campaign this weekend.

The Glovers are among the favourites to challenge for promotion and kick off the new campaign at Hemel Hempstead Town where they will encounter the first of a number of artificial surfaces in the division.

Captain Josh Staunton confirmed he would be unavailable due to the surface with striker Jake Hyde also unlikely to feature, but Cooper said he expected midfielder Jordan Stevens to be back in “the next ten days to two weeks” having missed a chunk of pre-season through injury.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Cooper said he was impressed with Hemel in a pre-season friendly against a Brighton & Hove Albion XI they beat 1-0 on Tuesday night.

The manager added: “I wanted to get a feel for the place, have a look at the pitch and see what they are about. I was very impressed, you can tell they are very well coached, they have some lively players but our mantra has been ‘we can have no excuses’.

Wherever we are asked to play – whether it’s the car park, 3G, grass, whether we get kicked, whether the referee makes bad decisions, we have to have the mentality that we can overcome whatever.

He picked out winger George Williams, who he managed during the pair’s time together at Forest Green Rovers, saying: “One of the best players I have ever coached, George Williams, plays there, he is a wonderful player who was savaged by injuries.

For him to be playing for Hemel tells you they will not be easy to play against, we have to deal with the pitch and everything else but we will be ready.

Malachi Linton, who has joined Taunton Town on loan until January.
Picture courtesy of Iain Morland.

Cooper told our own Ian Perkins that on loan players striker Benjani Junior and defender Ollie Haste had joined Dorchester Town on youth loan terms, meaning they can be recalled at any point after 28 days.

However, striker Malachi Linton will be at National League South rivals Taunton Town until the turn of the year, but he will not be able to face the Glovers when the two Somerset sides meet over the Christmas-New Year break.

The boss said: “It will be good for (Benjani Junior and Haste) in Southern League Premier where we can keep an eye on them. They are far better going to play 90 minutes every week than being on and off the bench, it is far better for their development.

Malachi is (at Taunton) until January and hopefully he can do some damage to other teams around them.

Cooper also confirmed that defender Morgan Williams will be available despite being sent off in the club’s pre-season friendly draw at Plymouth Parkway last weekend.

The defender was dismissed for allegedly punching an opposition player in a melee at the end of the first half but the boss said the referee’s report had exonerated the player.

He said: “The referee apologised on the Monday morning, so he’s not suspended. If we didn’t appeal the sending off, which we have done, he would miss friendly games next season. We have appealed it and the referee has put in his report that it was not a sending off, so it should be fine.

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Essex Glover
10 months ago

Now the manager has actually said it so THERE CAN BE NO EXCUSES. Our fans can expect
this season to be a two horse race with maybe the odd surprise package.If we can’t get out of this league with full time players,probably the best budget and best facilities together with best support
home and away THEN I GIVE UP!