BOSS Dave Cooper says AFC Ludlow's squad can continue to pick up results for many years to come, writes LEWIS DEAKIN.

AFC Ludlow are one point behind West Midlands League Division Two pace-setters Team Dudley and level on points with their nearest challengers Worcester Raiders.

Cooper warned his club’s title rivals that the championship race is set to go down to the wire.

The manager said: “I’m very happy with the squad. We have the right mix of youth and experience, which is a good balance for us.

“If I can keep the lads together for next season - I will be delighted.

“Our results have sent out a clear message to our rivals, that we will continue to fight for the league. If any of them slip up - we will be on hand to benefit.”

Win number six was confirmed on Saturday as Cooper’s men romped home to a 5-1 success at Malvern Rangers.

AFC Ludlow thrashed Rangers 13-1 in the reverse fixture at the Showtime Stadium.

The players have finally produced the goods after a tough few months back in 2013, insists Cooper.

He said: “Once we got our noses in front against Malvern. We ran out worthy winners. To be fair we have the squad to win all of our matches.

“We didn’t start well, but as we relaxed we came into the game and showed our class against a decent Malvern outfit.

“My message to the players is to pick up maximum points from our final three away matches against Warstone Wanderers, Dudley and Wolverhampton Sporting Community Reserves. All we can is win our games and see where it takes us.

“Since the turn of the year we have produced on a consistent basis. I knew we could do it, but it has been a season of two halves.”

AFC Ludlow are cooking with gas ahead of their final three games even without their star men, insists the boss.

The club were without Nathan Hodge, Liam Taylor, Adrian Marsh, Jamie Hammonds and Vladimir Biscak against Rangers.

But Cooper insists the dressing room is “buzzing” as the club’s season heads into a climatic final month.

The boss said: “The squad is coming together nicely, even without Jamie, Vladimir, Nathan, Liam and Adrian. We had 16 available against Rangers, which means the lads are all desperate to play.”

Ludlow would be rocking if the club could win the Division Two championship, says Cooper.

AFC Ludlow are aiming to win back-to-back promotions after their Mercian League triumph in Cooper’s debut campaign as player-manager.

He believes the future is bright for the football club - even if they don’t manage to go up this year.

Cooper said: “It would be fantastic to win promotion, especially as it is our first season back in Division Two. If this squad sticks together - I’m sure we will be successful in the future. I hope our fans have enjoyed watching their local team full of home-grown Ludlow men this year.”