FOOTBALL

Mark Cooper plays down important week ahead for Forest Green Rovers after Wrexham win

Mark Cooper belittled the two fixtures Forest Green have in the coming week after a fine 3-0 win over Wrexham put Rovers firmly back in the National League title race.

Dale Bennett’s calm side-footed finish in a congested penalty area and a Liam Noble penalty either side of half time put Cooper’s side in control.

Top marksman Christian Doidge lobbed the hapless Chris Dunn for his 21st goal of the season and secured the three points after the hour mark, as Wrexham offered very little going forward all afternoon.

The victory puts Rovers level on points with Lincoln City and maximum points from the week would put the club in control at the top – as they travel to Danny Cowley’s Imps on Saturday.

But, the Forest Green gaffer is only looking at each fixture as they happen, starting with Solihull at the New Lawn on Tuesday.

“We just look at the next game,” said Cooper.

“We don’t want to hype it up too much.

“It is another game at home on Tuesday – we’ll try and win that game, then we will concentrate on Lincoln.”

48-year-old Cooper reflected on another good performance at the New Lawn.

“It was controlled today,” he said. “We didn’t look in too much trouble – it was difficult with the wind, especially in the first half.”

“There was a lot of niggly decisions which didn’t help the flow of the game, but we came out on the right side of a 3-0 scoreline.

“In the second half we controlled the game nicely, which was the first time in a while I have been able to sit or stand there and not be worried.

Referee Samuel Allison issued seven yellow cards in the first 45 minutes and the former Notts County manager was unhappy with one challenge in particular.

“Not one bad tackle,” said Cooper.

“There wasn’t really many bad tackles in it apart from the challenge on Ethan Pinnock, which the guy is not even looking at the ball – he just jumps into Ethan.

“The referee has to stamp that out earlier on.”

The one blight to a positive afternoon was the injury to star defender Ethan Pinnock after 16 minutes and the Wakefield-born boss isn’t too confident on the initial assessment.

“He has got a knee injury,” admitted Cooper.

“Which doesn’t look particularly good at the moment.

“We will have to monitor that in the early part of the week.”

Cooper’s Rovers lost the reverse fixture 3-1 and at the time, he said it was one of the best games his side had played all season going forward without scoring enough.

This time around, Forest Green were much more clinical which delighted the former Rovers midfielder.

“We had chances to score more,” he said. “I was pleased with the cleansheet as well.

“In the second half, we didn’t have too much to deal with – we kept control of the ball and made them work hard.

“It was a pleasing day and another big game on Tuesday.”

You can watch the full interview with Mark Cooper here:

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