Yeovil Town boss Mark Cooper has said his National League South title-winning squad must evolve if it is going to be competitive next season.

The Glovers finish their campaign with a long trip to already relegated Dover Athletic this weekend with the boss saying it will be “a big jump” back in to the National League Premier next season.

Ebbsfleet United, the team who Cooper’s men replaced as champions, are still not quite safe and could do with something from their final game at fellow strugglers Boreham Wood this weekend, whilst last season’s play-off winners Oxford City finished bottom with 33 points from their 45 matches to date.

Speaking to Three Valleys’ Radio’s Si Thyer on Thursday ahead of the trip to Kent, Cooper said: “This is the first step. All we have done this year is do what we should have done. We celebrated over the weekend and it’s now about next season for me and wanting to go again.

When you taste success you want every season to be like that, so as a group we want to put things in place which means we have a chance to do that next year.

“But, we need to give the owner (Martin Hellier) a chance to get the finances in line as to what money we have to use to try and help this really good squad we have got.

I do not think we would have got relegated, but looking at the teams who came up from the South last year, Ebbsfleet are just about safe, and Oxford City are relegated.

You have to strengthen because there is a big jump. We have to be ruthless and make sure we improve and, even more importantly, bring in the right characters.

Super Cooper’s Greens are gunna blind you…
📸 Gary Brown

He suggested that there will be exits as well as (hopefully) arrivals at Huish Park in the summer, but praised the spirit which has been forged between his players this season.

The boss added: “You can’t win a league without the squad without the team spirit being really tight. Even when we have had a couple of little blips along the way, they have remained tight and navigated it without too much trouble.

There has to be evolution and as will happen at every club, some will move on, some will stay, but the ones that move on leave with a promotion on their CV. That gives them a better opportunity to get a better club next year.

One of Cooper’s former clubs, Forest Green Rovers, who he led to promotion to the Football League via the play-offs in 2017, were relegated back to non-League this week, and the Glovers’ boss expects the Gloucestershire side to be among those challenging at the top next season.

He said: “It is sad that Forest Green fought so hard to get out of non-League. I think they were the longest-serving members of the National League when they got promoted. It looks like they have spent a massive amount in the last two years and got relegated twice.

There will be a lot of frustration and anger and they will be looking to bounce back, so I expect them to have a top budget for the level. Straight away they will be favourites and it looks like Sutton and Colchester for the other team coming down.

What we have been looking at is the logistics because it is a heavily southern-based feel to the league next year which is good for us. Looks like there could be 16-17 southern-based teams which is great for us.

It was a brace from on loan Exeter City striker Sonny Cox which sealed a 2-0 win over Dover at Huish Park in November.

The trip to Dover appears the most dead rubber of any dead rubber match with the visitors already having their hands on the league title and the home side consigned to relegation three weeks ago.

But you’ll not be surprised to hear Cooper is looking for three points which would see Yeovil finish the season with 95 points and 29 wins – which would be one more than Gary Johnson’s Conference-winning side managed in the 2002-03 campaign.

The manager said: “I will be picking a team to win the game. I will not be handing out minutes for the sake of it, it will be players that I think can win us the game.

I want to go out with a win, the players want to go out with a win. In my first press conference this season I said ‘whether we are playing in the car park, on top of a mountain, on whatever surface, whether it’s three-a-side, five-a-side, Tiddlywinks – we want to win every competitive battle we go in to and Saturday will be no different.

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Goal Lover
1 month ago

I think for another promotion to be a realistic possibility, the Huish Park average attendance has stay the same or increase, and as do all the prices of the season tickets.
There is more of a chance of getting back in League 2 next year because teams with large ave. attendances (Wrexham, Notts County) look like they’re going to be replaced with clubs with a smaller following (FGR, maybe Sutton Utd).

Ian Peter Freely
1 month ago

Yeovil Town will never get back in the football league. So many big clubs in the National Conference now, so no chance. Yeovil Town had there movie and TV star. No, No, No, No, yes, but he passed aways. Micky Mouse owner now, with no connections like John and Norman, back in the day.

1 month ago

Cooper must recruit wisely. There is only about half the current squad that could hold their own in the national league. However he must keep Fisher, he works hard and stays in and around the box, where a striker should be. ( take note Frank Nouble). I also think that Cooper signed the wrong Pearson, surely he meant the Worhing Pearson!!!