Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Neville Cooper thinks Eaton Socon can be a top-four team next season after the introduction of a new fitness regime at the club which has coincided with three wins in a row and a jump of five places off the bottom of the Premier Division of the Cambs League.
Cooper, who has been a mainstay at the club for more than 20 years, met physical instructors Dean Wright and Kevin Gormley a month ago when they asked to store some of their equipment in the team’s clubhouse.
They all got talking and Cooper asked the pair if they would like to put his players through their paces. Since then the Eaton boys have beaten West Wratting, Linton Granta and on Saturday, Soham United 2-0, with Darren Blackall and Ed Huckle scoring the goals in the final five minutes.
“Dean and Kevin came to see me to ask if they could store some equipment, like the big tyres they use for their fitness routines, and it all stemmed from there really,” said Copper, who officially is still the joint manager with Chris Hill.
“Things have gone so well that Kevin has kind of taken charge so we are helping him now. Kevin is looking after the football and Dean is looking after the fitness.
“The players have really responded. They are all training now, there are no exceptions – and there has been a massive improvement in fitness, discipline and team spirit.
“It is the team spirit that is most notable. It’s all about team work. You are only as good as your weakest guy.
“Our ambition this season was always to stay up but now, next year, I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I think we can give it a real go. With a couple of additions – or maybe even not – I would like to think we can be top four. I don’t want to sound big headed but if it goes as it has been there is now a real chance.”
It is extremely tight at the bottom of the Premier League now with just one point separating the bottom six teams.
Eaton’s win on Saturday, when only three games survived the bad weather, saw them jump from 17th to 12th, and go above the only other Huntingdonshire team in the division, Brampton.
Brampton lost 2-1 at home to West Wratting and now find themselves very much part of the relegation battle following a 10-game run without a win.
Nick Garner scored Brampton’s equaliser in the first half but a rare mistake by goalkeeper Nick Parker gifted Wratting their second goal with 15 minutes to go. Brampton tried hard but were unable to find a second equaliser.
Last season, Eaton Socon flirted with relegation but a late rally saved them and they finished one place above the relegated Chatteris Town and Ely City Reserves. Brampton floundered late on and finished one place above Eaton Socon.