AFC LUDLOW manager Dave Cooper has warned Saturday’s Showtime Stadium opponents Malvern Rangers that confidence could not be higher amongst his players, writes LEWIS DEAKIN.
Cooper’s men have won back-to-back games at the home in 2014, beating Team Dudley 2-1, and Red Star Alma 5-0.
Cooper says it is very important AFC Ludlow make it three wins out of three in the West Midlands League Division Two.
He said: “It is vital we pick up three points on Saturday against Malvern. We should be winning our home games. It’s important to win games, as it builds confidence.
“The lads are certainly in the right frame of mind ahead of the game. Confidence could not be higher within the squad - if we have a fully fit squad; I’m positive we can get a result on Saturday.
"I don’t really know much about Malvern. I’ve had a look at the league table; even though they lie low down in the division - that means nothing, as anyone can beat anyone else in this league.”
AFC Ludlow picked up nine points from a possible 27 at home in 2013.
But there has been a change of mentality from within the dressing room, insists Cooper.
He believes a lack of numbers’ impacted upon his team’s results in the first-half of the campaign.
Cooper said: “We started off well at the beginning of the season. But then I think we switched off in certain games, and we were punished. But lately we have found our cutting edge, which is reflected in our recent results.
“It’s difficult to answer as to why we did struggle at home. I think it’s down to our mentality and commitment.
"At times we have been left down to the bare bones, and I’ve had to play my men out of position. Playing people out of position reflects out on the pitch; and it has showed in some of our results in 2013.”
AFC Ludlow have a full squad to chose from ahead of their home game against Rangers.
Rob Vass, Martin Jusko, Vladimir Biscak, Dale Hodge, Ian Havard and Kieran Dovey are all available for selection.
Cooper insists the postponement of last weekend’s game against Wolverhampton Sporting Community Reserves; gave AFC Ludlow time to utilize their resources’.
He said: “On Saturday we will have Rob, Martin, Vladmir, Dale, Ian and Kieran back. We have a full squad for Saturday’s game against Rangers. Last weekend we had people unavailable due to work commitments, suspension and injuries.”
Centre-forward Luke Hicks recently called for Cooper to sign a new centre-back.
But Cooper says the club have been let down by certain players in that position this season.
He believes in Hicks AFC Ludlow already have a natural defender.
He said: “We had signed five centre-halves, before the start of the season. But simply put we were let down by a certain few.
"It is an area we may have to strengthen next season. But in Luke we have a ready made centre-back. Although, he doesn’t agree with me - I feel that is his best position.
“I don’t think it has been difficult for us to fill our defensive positions; because we have a group of lads, who are willing to put a shift in. But at the back we haven’t been poor this season. But results may have been different if we had other options.”
Saturday’s Showtime Stadium match is a 2:30pm kick-off.
Admission is £3 for adults and £1 for children.