Charlie Wakefield has returned to training this week having sat out the previous five matches through injury.
The winger, who has not featured since his substitute appearance in the draw at Maidstone United at the end of October, is “slowly but surely getting there” according to manager Mark Cooper.
The return of the 24-year-old seems likely to come too soon to feature against his old team Bromley in tomorrow’s 12.30pm kick-off, although the boss says players who have not been featuring in his starting XI have staked a claim in training this week.
He is without the suspended Matt Worthington who is missing after being sent off in last weekend’s 1-0 home win over FC Halifax.
Cooper said: “It’s an opportunity for a number of players to join this week’s training to stake a claim, we have had a really good week’s training and I’m looking for players to show me during training that they should be in the team on Saturday.
“One or two have put themselves forward and hopefully I get that decision right tomorrow.”
Playmaker Lawson D’Ath, who is yet to appear under Cooper due to injury, is a central midfield replacement option for Worthington, unless he looks to change the formation and select a more attacking option such as winger Anthony Georgiou at the weekend.
The Glovers remain the league’s joint lowest scorers, tied on 17 goals with FC Halifax and Oldham Athletic.
Of his attacking options, Cooper said: “You have Louis (Britton), Malachi (Linton), Fish (Alex Fisher) and Andrew Oluwabori, so there’s four boys who can play up front, so it’s about picking the right formula and formation and hopefully getting it right.”
Interestingly he did not mention the out of favour Jake Scrimshaw who has not featured since come on for the final ten minutes of the 2-0 defeat at Oldham Athletic under former boss Chris Hargreaves, a game which Cooper watched from the stands.
One player certain to start against Bromley is on loan West Brom midfielder Jamie Andrews who extended his stay at Huish Park until January this week.
The 20-year-old has impressed in midfield alongside captain Josh Staunton and Cooper was pleased to see him sign up for a further month.
He said: “It is important it was Jamie’s second loan because sometimes boys are not quite ready in their first loan.
“You can tell he’s already had a loan in men’s football, and I watch a lot of Under-23s and Under-21s football and it is very difficult to pick a player because there is never a lot of tackling and competitiveness.
“Jamie is a bit different, he likes to get stuck in, he likes to run and he can play a bit as well, so for the time he spends with us he will go back to West Brom a far better player.”
The tall midfielder had a spell at National League North side Leamington last season.
You have to go back to September 1987 to find the last time a Yeovil Town team lost at Bromley with the Glovers having won six and drawn one of their last seven visits to Kent.
But, they make the trip looking for their first three points on the road this season, against a Ravens’ side who made an impressive start to the season before having saw in the past couple of months. They did win last time beating Dorking Wanderers 3-2 with ten men last weekend with former Glover Omar Sowunmi on target in that match, his fifth goal this season.
Cooper said: “I’m not bothered whether it’s home or away, it’s about continuing to pick points up and trying to pull away from the bottom of the league.
“They are very good, strong, powerful and functional, they will put the ball forward and try and test us. It will be a similar game that you get 80 or 90% in the National League and it will be about whoever makes the least mistakes as it normally is.”
The manager was not impressed with the National League’s decision to pull kick-off times forward to 12.30pm on Saturday [if only we knew a league board member – Ed] to accommodate the potential of either England or Wales playing the last 16 of the World Cup. Obviously as it turns out, England do not play until Sunday night and as for Wales, well……
Cooper added: “For me they could have changed it back once they knew England weren’t playing on Saturday, but we can’t do anything about it. It just means we have to travel (on Friday night) and we just put our schedule back a little bit to make breakfast lunch and we will be ready to go.”
The manager was asked (again) whether he is looking to strengthen his squad with any new arrivals with seven games in the next four weeks – including the Somerset Men’s Premier Cup tie with Taunton Town next Tuesday and the FA Trophy opener against Dorking.
Once again, he reiterated his desire (and budget-driven necessity) to work with the players he already has at his disposal with the likes of Scrimshaw and Will Dawes, signed from non-League Stratford Town for an undisclosed five-figure fee, yet to feature.
Cooper said: “Sometimes the answers are under your nose. It’s not all about going and signing every Tom, Dick and Harry and in with the new and out with the old, we have to try and improve (the players we have).
“But also you have to keep in mind is ‘are we going to get significantly better than what we have for an extra so many pounds a week?’ We probably aren’t, so until we find the right one or we get the right amount of money where we can really go and get one that is really going to make a difference, I am enjoying working with the group we have.”
The boss did reveal he does have players in mind who he believes could strengthen his options and is keeping a close eye on them using a range of statistical databases of players.
He said: “I have a database of players that I think could help us and I am constantly watching new players to see what is available.
“But it’s whether the clubs will let them go, will they come to Yeovil and can you afford them? So there’s a lot of things that have to come together to get them.
“I have worked on database recruitment in terms on specific positions, for example if we were using for a left-back, I would use a lot of data to narrow that search down.
“But in the end I want to see the player in the flesh and certainly the majority of the work is done through database, but I want to see what people are like in warm-ups, does he carry himself well? All of those kind of things.”
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