Manager Cooper cannot wait for opening-day test against relegated Bustleholme

AFC Ludlow v Oakengates Pre season friendly. AFC Ludlow's Keanu Cooper gets a shot in on the Oakengates goal. Photo: Andy Compton 1432_55008 (8887820)

AFC Ludlow v Oakengates Pre season friendly. A last ditch tackle from Oakengates defender Lee Mitchell stops AFC Ludlow's Jamie Smith getting in on goal. Photo: Andy Compton 1432_55009 (8887826)

AFC Ludlow v Oakengates Pre season friendly. AFC Ludlow's Jamie Morris and Dave Cooper. Photo: Andy Compton 1432_55002 (8887786)

First published in Sport by

AFC Ludlow boss Dave Cooper says he cannot wait for Saturday’s curtain-raiser against Bustleholme at the Showtime Stadium in West Midlands League Division One.

Cooper’s men warmed up for this weekend’s match with a comfortable 3-1 friendly home success against last season’s Mercian League Premier Division champions, Oakengates.

Cooper has been impressed with the displays from newcomer Ash Morris, who was at Bromyard Town last season.

Ludlow had previously sealed a 4-0 home success against Radnor Valley and were due to host Malvern Rangers in a friendly last night.

Cooper said: “I can’t wait us to play and I am really looking forward to meeting the likes of Bartestree, Bromyard Town, Hereford Lads Club and Ledbury Town.

“It will be like when I was playing for Woofferton and going back to some old stomping grounds.”

Newly-promoted Ludlow will be without Jamie Smith, Aaron Dovey and Martin Jusko for the home clash with Bustleholme, who were relegated from the Premier Division.

Star striker Nathan Hodge also remains on the sidelines after having had an operation on a back problem earlier this year.

“Nathan Hodge has not yet signed forms. He’s still having a few problems with his back after an operation earlier this year. He doesn’t want to play against until his back problem has healed.”

But Cooper said: “There are places up for grabs and we will definitely give our young players a chance this season.

“We have a brilliant team spirit last season and if we can repeat that, I am sure we won’t be far away at the end of the season.”

Goals from Aaron Hodge, Smith, Kieran Dovey and Morris helped Ludlow to a four-goal success over Radnor Valley.

Marion Jusko, Kieran Dovey and Smith netted for Ludlow in a 3-1 success over Oakengates in a match which was halted after 60 minutes.

Ludlow opened up strongly and led 3-0 after just 25 minutes of Saturday’s friendly.

The club presented Hope House Children’s Hospice with a £300 cheque from the match against Wellington Amatuers.

Cooper said: “Oakengates said they were missing a few and had several players injured so we decided to stop the match after about 60 minutes.

“I had 18 lads and it was quite hard to get them on and off.”

He added: “I am really positive. The young lads at the club will add a new dimension and have all grown in stature and experience.”

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