Cup kings Blues have plenty to play for
Shoot on sight: Former Arsenal trainee and Jamaican international Nigel Neita takes a shot in Tuesday’s 3-0 London Senior Cup semi-final triumph over Wingate & Finchley at Imber Court Deadlinepix SP83420
Mid-table Met Police may be forgiven for winding down to the end of the season – but boss Jim Cooper is having none of it.
The Blues end their Ryman Premier League commitments at AFC Hornchurch on April 26 to bring the curtain down on a disappointing league campaign that never really caught light.
Instead of the promotion play-off campaign Cooper desired at the start of the season, they have a Surrey Senior Cup final clash with Woking on April 30 and a London Senior Cup final meeting with AFC Wimbledon at Imber Court on May 6.
And the Imber Court chief has told his players they have plenty to prove between now and then to earn their starting places in the showpiece events.
“These cup finals are a great reward for the players after a long hard season, but if I was being honest, I would have taken a place in the play-offs over being in the finals,” said Cooper.
“This season has been a disappointment compared to last year where we finished outside the play-offs on goal difference.
“But it is what it is, and now we concentrate on the cup finals. They are massive for us when you consider the opposition.”
Met overcame Wingate & Finchley on Tuesday night to reach the London final thanks to goals from Tom Bird, Charlie Collins and Nigel Neita in a 3-0 win.
Bird was also on target in the Surrey Cup semi-final when his goal, and
a Bradley Hudson-Odoi strike, saw off Merstham 2-0 last week.
The results sandwiched a surprise 2-1 win over league leaders Wealdstone at Imber Court on Saturday with goals from Steve Sutherland and Ty Smith – a level of performance Cooper expects again when they host relegated Carshalton tomorrow.
He said: “The lads are fighting for their places in the finals.
“If you cannot up your performance when there’s a final in the offering, when can you?
“Between now and then, the players have to prove to me they are worthy of a place in the finals.”
While Cooper would have preferred a shot at the play-offs, he insists he has never under-valued the cup competitions.
“We always take these competitions seriously and this is the reward,” Cooper said.
“The Dons’ season ends a few days before our final and I’d hope they would put out a strong side.
“It would be great to take on a League Two side and I know we’d put up a decent show after we pushed Crawley Town in last season’s FA Cup.”