Andy Cook interview: how the Bradford City striker became League Two’s answer to Erling Haaland -Dlight News

Andy Cook interview: how the Bradford City striker became League Two's answer to Erling Haaland

“Man is a machine, isn’t he?”

With Erling Haaland scoring five against RB Leipzig in the Champions League the night before Andy Cook’s exclusive interview with sky sportsthe Manchester City sensation – which, in truth, is an understatement at this point – is first on the agenda.

In fact, it’s almost impossible to talk to Cook without Haaland being part of the conversation.

One plays in the top flight, the other in the fourth tier, but both have scored so regularly that they have sat at the top of their respective division’s goal tables for most of the campaign.

Cook has scored the third most goals in domestic league and cup competitions this term (23), behind only Middlesbrough’s Chuba Akpom (24) and Haaland (29).

He is also level with Peterborough’s Jonson Clarke-Harris on 28 goal appearances in all domestic competitions during the season, a tally bettered only by the Norwegian’s 34 (excluding Champions League).

Is it League Two’s response to Haaland? “I’ll take that, of course!”

He did not start the season as Mark Hughes’ No. 9 first choice, but he had the shirt on in mid-August and had scored 16 goals and provided an assist by Christmas.

“If someone had told me if I would be in this amount of goals at the moment, after how the end of last season went, I would have laughed at them and I would have snatched their hands away,” he said. sky sports after being named Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month for September 2022.

But it hasn’t been smooth all the way, though.

Following a 1-0 loss at Carlisle on Boxing Day, Cook was replaced by Vadaine Oliver in attack and didn’t start once in January, mustering just 67 minutes on the field throughout the month.

“I think it was just about refreshing the team, but I didn’t want to be sitting on the bench, I wanted to be on the field, helping the guys,” Cook admits.

“I just had to smile and take it. I kept my head down, kept training well and doing what I could when I was on the field.”

“I would say I dealt with it better when I was a little older. I used to let things overwhelm me and worry about what I had done wrong. Now I know what I can do and what I was doing, so I don’t see why. I would return to the team and not score.

“To be fair, I’ve come back stronger, I’d say. At the time, I would have said I didn’t need to be cut from the team, but maybe it was for the best because I came back.” firing at full steam immediately.”

The 32-year-old recently made his 100th appearance for Mark Hughes’ Bantams.

That goes without saying. Cook has started nine games since that first start for the team on February 4, scoring seven goals and assisting three more.

Is he in the shape of his life?

“Yes, 100 percent. This season has gone from good to better, and now it’s getting even better.”

“I’m in a good place. I scored last Saturday against Newport with the only chance I had and I always feel, on the minute, that every chance I get, I’ll take it. I don’t know if it’s because of the way the season went or ‘Cause I’m a little older and wiser

“I’d say I’m fitter now than I was in the past too. When I was at Walsall we were relegated and I scored 18 goals in all competitions in my first season in League One. I’ve always been confident I’d hit these numbers again, just It took me a couple more years.

“After leaving Walsall I didn’t really play much, if I’m honest. I went on loan to Bradford, I got playing time and you’re happy when you play, so since I’ve been here, I’ve had a good mentality and I’ve done enough for the trust me to play week after week, which is very important to me”.

If he maintains his current goals-per-game ratio of 0.56 and assists-per-game ratio of 0.13 for the rest of the season, Cook will finish with an incredibly impressive 29 goals and six assists in 50 games to his name and will have set a new return of best personal goal

The tallest to beat is the 28 goals in all competitions he scored for Tranmere when they were promoted from the National League in 2017/18.

With 11 games to play, he has a goal in mind.

“I had one earlier in the season and traded it in now because I hit it!” he laughs.

“For the last two seasons, I’ve set myself a target of between 15 and 20 goals and now I’ve set myself a new one: if I achieve it, I’ll be over the moon.”

It’s even conceivable that he could match or better Paul Mullin’s League Two goal record of 32, but as is often the case with leaders, for now, he won’t reveal what that goal looks like.

However, you will admire the numbers and accept the applause once the job is done.

“I get tagged in tweets where I’m on lists with Haaland, Marcus Rashford and people like that, but I don’t really notice because I want to take things game by game.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s crazy to see my name on those lists and it will be something to remember, especially if we get to where we want to be as a team – the promotion would be the icing on the cake.” “

Cook is also content to leave talks about his future at the club until a later date.

The two-year contract he signed in June 2021 expires in just over three months and he admits there have been no talks of an extension yet.

Perhaps it’s in Bradford’s best interest to keep it that way for now. His character is working his way to the Golden Boot, and potentially disrupting his flow with discussions at this late stage of the campaign could prove detrimental to his promotional effort.

However, whatever happens from here on out, Cook seems destined for another chance in League One, whether with Bradford or not.

Source link