Andy Cook praises his youthful side following their County Cup second round 13-0 triumph over Newark Town on Sunday and explains that having the opportunity to bring in fresh faces to his starting 11 was important.
Speaking after the game Cook said: “It was a great win.
“It was more pleasing that we were able to rotate round the team and other players were able to pick up some minutes today who have been working hard in training.
“It’s left me with lots of thoughts heading into the next few league games.”
Cook made eight changes to his squad that he fielded only a week earlier in their FA Women’s National League Plate as he handed out six first starts of the season to several of his Reds. Reserve team captain, Kirstie Hunt, was also handed her debut for the first team as she made the step up into the fold. Cook stated that there is a one club mentality across all the women’s side and that he was impressed with how the side came together.
“We don’t just train with our typical league match-day squad, we all train together and we all work together,” Cook explained.
“So, it’s really pleasing that all the girls came together.
“Changing the whole squad around like we did today is always a risk but the girls stepped up to the challenge and there were some really good performances from them today.”
Cook also went onto explain that throughout the rest of the season he is aiming to bring in more fresh faces from the reserve side.
He said: “Absolutely we are aiming to bring in more reserve team players into the fold.
“It’s something I’ve said and always wanted to achieve since I became manager here. There is definitely that clear pathway throughout the club.
“Kirstie Hunt has been excellent in training, she trains with the first team so she’s pretty familiar with the squad. She came in from Guiseley in the summer where she had a great season with them last year and she remained patient and got her deserved minutes today.
“There’s another player in the reserves that often trains with us, Annabel McKechnie, she was unfortunately away today or she would’ve also been in the squad today. I’ve spoken to her about how she is in my plans to come into the first team.”
The Reds have been no strangers in front of goal this season as they have found the back of the net a whopping 38 times across all competitions this season. In-form forward Precious Hamilton has played a key part in the side’s goals as she has racked up 15 of them, so far. But having been rested in Sunday’s County Cup win other Forest players had to make the step-up to ensure the Reds secured the win. Seven different out-field players wearing the Garibaldi all etched their names on the scoresheet and Cook explained how ‘fantastic’ it was to see different players get amongst the goals.
Cook said: “It’s fantastic to get different players amongst the goals now.
“We’ve spoke about within the team, we obviously all like Precious Hamilton and she is a fantastic girl but even she understands she can’t score every goal.
“So, it’s good that lots of different goal scorers are now getting on the score sheet.
“By not having Precious in the squad today the other players had to step up to make sure we got them goals.
“Ellie Casper’s gone and got herself a couple more goals today and her link-up play has been brilliant the past two games. The way she holds the ball up in the final third is great and told her at the end of the match she’s got to keep doing that and keep working hard regardless of that. Her hold-up player gives us another option and it’s a different way of playing and she brings so much as she brings different players into the attack.
“Across the board it was great with the different goal scorers and especially with Georgia Hewitt coming on in the second-half and scoring a terrific goal.”
Striker Ellie Casper was brought into the starting 11 for the side’s recent two cup fixtures and she has impressed across her full 180 minutes of playing time as she has bagged herself a brace in both ties. Cook admits that Casper hitting a great form and Hamilton’s great start to the season now gives him ‘something to think about’ when he selects his starting 11 for the next game.
“It’s been two great weeks in terms of showcasing the talent we have in our striking options,” he explained.
“Against Chester-le-Street we changed formation and played with Precious and Ellie up top and it worked.
“This week we didn’t have Precious in so it was Ellie’s time to lead the line on her own. So yes, it gives me something to think about.”