Dean Keates: Andy Cook has the right ingredients
Walsall boss Dean Keates believes Andy Cook deserves credit for the way he has stepped up to League One football.
Despite coming through the youth ranks at Carlisle, Cook has spent the vast majority of his career playing in non-league. But after scoring goals for fun for Barrow, Grimsby and Tranmere, the striker earned a move to the Banks’s Stadium in the summer.
And the 28-year-old has picked up where he left off with the targetman already on eight goals for the campaign.
“There is no doubt about it, he (Cook) is a player that consistently scores goals,” Keates said.
“He has done that over the last few years in the National League. And you never forget where the net is, he knows that.
“From day one he has been excellent. He has worked on bits and pieces.
“He has done a lot of work with Nick (Barnett) our sports scientist – his body fat has gone down.
“And he has bought into everything we have asked from him. I can’t praise the lad enough.”
Cook has scored three goals in his last five outings for the Saddlers.
Before that, the forward went seven league games without a goal – with that spell leading to some criticism from supporters.
But Keates said Cook is strong enough to cope with the ups and downs that come with being a professional footballer.
“In the modern day, the way things are with social media, you hear a lot of the things that get said,” the boss continued.
“It gives people a platform to say what they want.
“All the players, not just Cookie, they all have to take the rough with the smooth.
“All he has added over the past few weeks is one or two goals. His performances have always been the same.
“As I’ve said to Andy, don’t worry about the goals, if you are performing how you want to perform – if you are the handful that you are, you will offer the team something.
“And if you haven’t scored, as long as he can come off and say he gave a performance for the team that is all that matters.”