Grimsby Town v AFC Telford: Andy Cook ready for the battle
ANDY Cook has already won his fair share of battles against some of the toughest defenders the Blue Square Bet Premier has to offer.
And, after coming out on top against the likes of Luton's Janos Kovacs and Darran Kempson of Alfreton, the 22-year-old isn't daunted by the prospect of another bruising encounter with Telford tomorrow.
The frontman – whose left eye still bears the after- effects of a clash of heads in the recent game with Cambridge – admits he does relish a physical battle, but says there's more to his came than just brute force.
Speaking to the Telegraph, he said: "When I've played against the likes of Kovacs and Kempson, I've got myself up for it because I know what big lads like them are going to try to do to me – and I've done okay against them.
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"I really do thrive off that kind of battle and I'll look forward to another against Telford if I'm picked.
"When I went off against Cambridge, I didn't have concussion or anything like that, I'd just split my head open.
"I even wanted to go back on, but we couldn't get it stitched up quickly enough – I don't mind, it's all part of the game.
"It will be a tough, physical game against Telford – just like it was when we played them at their place earlier in the season.
"It was a battle that day and I can see it being a similar game tomorrow – which is fine by me."
He added: "But at Grimsby, I do get the ball to my feet a lot more than I have done previously in my career, where it used to be just a big hoof up to me to battle for it.
"That's much better for me and I'm enjoying it a lot more because I can show more of what I can do."
Cook's recent upturn in goal-scoring fortunes is certainly an indication of how much he is enjoying his football at Blundell Park.
His impudent flick against Alfreton was his tenth goal so far this season and the former Barrow man's fourth in as many games.
He admits to having endured a slow start to his career in Cleethorpes but added that he is now loving life at the Blue Square Bet Premier table-toppers.
"Things are going really well for me at the moment and I'm absolutely loving it," he continued.
"Even at the beginning, when I wasn't scoring often, I was still enjoying it, but now I'm scoring and that's a huge bonus for me.
"I've now got four in four and I'm on a good run, but the main thing is that the team are doing well and getting points on the board.
"I was pleased to see my goal go in against Alfreton – I was really happy with that one.
"I've got ten for the season now after that goal, which I'm quite happy with.
"At the start of the season, I set myself a target of between 15 and 20 goals, so to be in double figures already is great.
"Obviously the team are doing well and I'm playing well within that team, so that really helps."
The arrival of Lenell John-Lewis on transfer deadline day means that Cook is now one of eight strikers at the club. And the lad from the North East has responded to that increased competition in impressive style.
He has paired up successfully with both Ross Hannah and Richard Brodie already this season, is more than happy to give his joint managers a selection headache up front.
"With the players we've got, the competition within the team is really good," he continued.
"It drives me on because I know that if I have a bad game, there's more chance of me losing my place now.
"And, with the way I'm playing at the moment, I really don't want to lose my place!" he said.
"When I was at Barrow, we didn't swap about that much and I always had one set partner but it's a lot different here because there are so many different options for the managers in terms of strikers.
"When me and Ross have played together, we've always done well.
"But then last time out, I played up top with Brodes (Richard Brodie) and we both got on the score-sheet, so that works as well.
"It's a good decision for the managers to have to make, and we'll see who's picked tomorrow against Telford."