Yeovil Town boss Mark Cooper has called on his players to out-work their opponents as they look to bounce back from back-to-back defeats when they travel to Slough Town this weekend.

The Glovers turned in below par performances as they went down 1-0 at home to Welling United last weekend and suffered a second half horror show to concede three in a 3-1 defeat to Chippenham Town on Tuesday night.

Speaking like a man who has given his players running stats a good look, the boss made no secret that he was looking for an all-action performance this weekend.

He said: “We have to react now and put a team on the pitch that want to work and want to run. The one thing an opposition can’t stop you doing is running and I think we have maybe got away from that a bit.

I have to make sure I put a team out that I know are going to run and sprint. Sometimes if you are feeling a bit down on yourself or you are not quite sure about your ability, just run. You can play rubbish and win if you run about, you can’t do that if you don’t run about. If we work harder than the opposition, we can win.

We can’t not match physically the team we are playing because their levels are going to be so high. They have some good players. I just want to see a hard-working performance.”

He added: “Players have spells of inconsistency but, if you are in one of those spells, run yourself in to the ground. If you do that and you stop the player you are playing against playing well, you have done a job for your team without playing well. I can put up with players being a bit off form, but what I can’t have is our running stats being down from three weeks ago.

Matt McClure celebrates Chippenham Town’s second goal at Huish Park.

Following the defeat in midweek, Cooper called on the club’s supporters to “come together” behind his players as they prepare for the final eight games of the season. The Glovers still sit nine points clear of second-placed Chelmsford City, who face a tricky home game against play-off chasing Bath City at the weekend, with a game in hand.

On Thursday, he repeated that plea to fans travelling to Berkshire this weekend, saying: “We just have to make sure we stick together and I include the fans in that because they could be the biggest part of it.

They are part of what we do and we need them to be with us and I know they will be in the next eight games, but on the inside we have lost two games, confidence is fine, we are in good spirits and we look forward to the game in the next game.

Full-back Michael Smith, who missed the defeat to Chippenham with a hamstring strain sustained in the loss against Welling, is definitely out for the weekend, but Cooper said midfielder Charlie Cooper could be available.

The 26-year-old, who was part of the Forest Green Rovers side which won the National League under his father in 2017, went off after 37 minutes against Chippenham with an ankle injury.

Cooper Senior said: “He is not ruled out for the weekend yet, he has responded quite well to treatment.

Rhys Murphy has not featured since early January.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

The manager said that the team did have “a couple of knocks and bruises” going in to the weekend, but did reveal that striker Rhys Murphy could yet see further action this season. The frontman got 13 goals before suffering an injury in an innocuous incident in the 1-0 win at Taunton Town in early January.

Cooper said: “We are keeping our fingers crossed that,even if it is the last few games, Murph could come back and give us something.

The boss was asked whether he could look at adding further to his squad for a boost as they prepare for the season run-in, but said there were unlikely to be players available at this stage of the campaign that would appeal to him.

He said: “We gambled on having a smaller squad with more quality and, on the whole that has worked, up until the last few weeks. When you look at injuries to the likes of Murphy, Hyde, Smith injured, they are massive players for us.

If we could bring a player now that eased that burden and perhaps helped Worthy go back in to midfield where he is best, of course we would do it.

But is there loads of quality players that teams want to let go at this stage of the season? No. Are there players that are available that want to come down to Yeovil? No. It’s a real difficult market.

I only want a player to come if he is desperate to play for Yeovil, I don’t want someone to come here to do us a favour. I want someone who is desperate to be here and get a promotion on their CV. So, unless it is one of them, we will not bring anyone in. If I find one of them, I will bring him in.

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Goal Lover
3 months ago

Tough game, and judging from what their fans were like at Huish Park, probably an unwelcoming atmosphere at Slough. Think our lads can cope with it though.