Secure your seat for the game now

Matt Edwards
Thursday 07 February 2019

Manager Mark Cooper talks to the local media ahead of Saturday's home game with Notts County.

He discusses the enforced mini-break, the threats Neal Ardley's side pose, Tuesday's development game and his latest addition Ben Liddle.

How has the week been without a game last weekend to keep the players occupied?

I was pleased with the rest the players got at the early part of this week and they’re ready to go and we’re looking forward to Saturday. 

The players must be chomping a the bit because what they like doing most is playing isn't it?

We go into another week now with three games, Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, so it's another full on week that we have to be ready to commit to and really attack it.

How is James Montgomery progressing?

He's now ugly. Montgomery is fine. It's going to take some recovery but it's superficial & it's just about getting his confidence back and getting him back out there. He's done a little bit of training already but it will be a couple of weeks before he is ready to put his gloves back on.

Notts County is potentially a very difficult game because of where they are, they will be scrapping for everything and showed against Lincoln last weekend that they can upset the odds.

When you look at the team that played against Lincoln, they have got a little bit of everything. They've got some good experience with some good characters in there. Jon Stead is a brilliant professional, Craig Mackail-Smith, Michael Doyle, who is an outstanding player and got promotions out of this league for fun, Jim O'Brien. They've got a lot of good characters in there with some good young legs, two exciting wide players. It's a game we're looking forward to, we fully respect their threats but if we play well we have a chance to win.

Has their season surprised you?

I think at the start of the season, because of the money they were reportedly spending on wages, you'd have to expect them to be up and around it. It just shows you that money doesn't guarantee you everything. It's been disappointing for them. It's a really big club at this level and they'll be really hoping that they can get enough points to stay in this league.

The reserves had a game and a win on Tuesday, Shawn McCoulsky's hat-trick stole the headlines, how pleasing was that?

The development games are important to keep the squad players topped up and Shawn looked really sharp and got himself three goals to give his confidence a boost.

Junior Mondal was involved in all three goals as well, there's signs of a link-up there.

We've got five good forwards and they've all got to make sure they are ready to contribute, whether they are coming off bench or starting. If they are coming off the bench, they've got to make sure they are making an impression on the game that makes me think about putting them in from the start. Reuben Reid did that in the last game, came off the bench, scored a goal and could have won the game as well with a great chance, you need that so they are always at the front of your mind.

How is Ben Liddle settling in?

Good. He is a player I've known for a long time, his dad worked with me at Darlington. He is very aggressive in terms of his play, he likes to get around the pitch, he likes to take contact and is a good footballer. Middlesbrough have got a really good academy and produce really good players. He'll definitely give us a bit of something.

Tahvon Campbell left on deadline day as well, was that something he pushed for or was it something you felt would benefit him?

He's agent pushed for it and said that he wanted to leave and felt he should be in the team ahead of all the other strikers. We probably felt we had one too many, so it made sense for us to let Tahv go.