Yeovil Town boss Mark Cooper says his squad has “a few bumps and bruises” going in to this weekend’s home game with the National League South’s surprise package of the season so far, Aveley.

The Millers, who won the Isthmian League Premier Division play-offs last season, arrive at Huish Park just a point and a place behind the third-placed Glovers having won six of their opening ten fixtures.

Speaking on Thursday ahead of the game, the Yeovil manager declined to reveal which players he may be missing for the match having been without defender Jamie Sendles-White (Achilles) and midfielder Jordan Stevens through injury for last weekend’s FA Cup win over Didcot Town.

However, he confirmed that midfielder Matt Worthington will return after missing the Cup match despite not being suspended – albeit the Glovers were only informed of the decision by the FA 24 hours before the game.

Cooper said: “I could be really pragmatic and say we have a good squad, but that’s not really the point. If you appeal, you are not expecting to hear 24 hours before the game.

I’ve not really had an explanation for that, I think it probably got lost in a big pile of disciplinary issues, but that’s gone.

We did what we had to do and Matty’s had a rest and he should be really fresh, I’m expecting a top performance from him on Saturday.

Matt Worthington is expected to return for Yeovil Town this weekend.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Striker Jake Hyde, who did miss the Didcot game through suspension after his sending off in the win at Hampton & Richmond, is also expected to be back in contention.

Cooper revealed he had spoken with the FA following its shambolic handling of the Worthington suspension and received an apology for the performance of officials this season.

He said: “I spoke to a young guy at the FA who was very apologetic and, as I said before, it is not us castigating officials, we want to help them to be better.

It’s just how they get to that appointment and what experiences they have to get to that level. That is the key issue, but he understood our frustrations and some of the decisions that were made.

We’ve served the suspensions and we just hope the appointments (of referees) are better.

Aveley won a midweek FA Cup third qualifying round replay after extra time at local rivals Hornchurch on Tuesday night and Cooper expects them to be a tough opponent. 

Speaking on Thursday ahead of the game, the Yeovil manager said: “They have had a great start, be pay full respect, we are expecting them to be on the front foot and rightly so.

They had a good win in the week in extra time to get through and they play Barnet in the next round, so they will be looking forward to that.

Their tails will be up, but it’s our back garden and we want to be right at it and give our fans another performance to cheer about.

Asked if the extra minutes in midweek would be draining for the visitors, he added: “I don’t think so, they would have been training anyway. When they turn up here, see the stadium, the pitch and the crowd that will give them that lift anyway.

Cooper was asked about the FA Cup fourth qualifying round draw at home to Southend United and said he expected the Shrimpers to be tough opponent.

The Essex outfit announced this week that their owner R** M***** has agreed to sell the club to a consortium fronted by Australian businessman Justin Rees in a deal expected to be completed by November 1.

On the tie, Cooper said: “It is a tough draw because it looks as though they are being rescued, they will have a massive bounce now because the fans will be fervent, they will get behind the new ownership, as our fans have.

So that makes it an even tougher game for us, but we are at home, unbeaten at home so far and we have to make the most of that.

Being really honest, I would rather have one of the smaller clubs at home. That is a tough draw for us because if they had not had ten points deducted they would be in the top six, there were easier draws. Once we get Aveley out of the way, we will focus on Southend.

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