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Mark Cooper Blog: Positive Start To Summer

9 June 2021

A photograph of Barrow AFC Manager Mark Cooper Ian Allington
Barrow Manager Mark Cooper
Club News

Mark Cooper Blog: Positive Start To Summer

9 June 2021

Bluebirds boss Mark Cooper provides some reaction to this week's transfer business and gives an update on the ongoing work to improve the squad further.

Hello everyone and welcome to my first Blog here on the Official Website. I just wanted to give you all a bit of an update from my point of view after we got up and running with our transfer business this week.

While it’s quiet in the off-season, fans always want signings and I think we have made a positive start with what we’ve been able to do so far. It’s important we take our time and don’t just sign anybody; we’re trying to get the right blend and it’s crucial to get the right players but there will be more to follow.

Ideally, you want all the players in your squad in the building and ready to go on the first day of pre-season. There might be some scope for a couple of loans or players who have been left without a Club who have quality and you might leave it late for a couple, but I want the majority of the squad complete by 1st July.

When I came in I looked at the released list and saw Josh Kay’s name. I had seen him play a couple of times and what struck me about him was his pace, his directness and the threat he has to the opposition. Of course, players can make mistakes but his sort of pace and creativity – you can’t have enough of that in the squad. Rather than go and search for another one, it was prudent to get him back because he knows the Club and we know him so there won’t be a settling in period.

I had a good conversation with him and once I had spoken to him I think he was really happy to come back, despite having some other options. I am pleased to get that sorted and I know he will cause opposition problems, so I am looking forward to working with him.

Offrande Zanzala was a player that the Club had earmarked before I arrived. There was no suggestion that I had to go for him but I had actually seen him play against my son a few years ago back in his Academy days at Derby County and he’d caught my eye. I can remember him causing havoc and he nearly decapitated the goalkeeper in one game – he was just a real handful! Once I saw that the Club had the chance to get him I just said to get on with it. I think he will create, he will upset defenders, he’s a big and powerful lad and I think he will score goals.

I am really pleased we’ve also managed to get a deal done for Paul Farman. Over the last couple of years at Forest Green I had some problems with the goalkeeping department. We’d had predominantly younger goalkeepers, loan goalkeepers or ones that weren’t quite ready and it had cost us a lot of points, so I had made a decision that I wanted a goalkeeper who was steady – that’s a word I like for goalkeepers; they are not rash and they will save you points during a season. Paul Farman is definitely in that category. He’s got good experience, he’s a great age for a goalkeeper, he can kick the ball a long way when you’re under pressure, he’s good with his feet and he’s an imposing figure. When I got the chance to get that one done, it was high on my list because he will give us the calmness we need.

Tom White was the third player to arrive and, similarly to Offrande, he was one the Club had on their list. Without a Manager, it’s responsible to keep a focus on recruitment and make sure you don’t miss out on players and they had mentioned they had an option to sign Tom. I had seen him play and I watched a lot of footage of him and you can see he’s technically a very good footballer so he will fit perfectly into what I want to do. It’s another exciting signing, in my opinion, and I think he will definitely make a big contribution this season.

We’re looking at a couple of defenders, we need a destructive midfield player and maybe another forward so that’s what we’re working on now and we’re hoping to move quickly. We’re close on a couple so by the end of the week we might be near to announcing some more news, but we’ll see how it develops.

I just want to finish by thanking everyone for the warm welcome I have received since being appointed as Manager at Barrow. I really want to hit the ground running and ensure we get off to a strong start so that the positivity continues to build along with momentum.

Thanks for your support.


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