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High flyers Cougars staying humble

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Mark Mills insists no one at Devonshire Cougars is getting carried away despite the club’s encouraging start to the campaign.

Elisha Darrell celebrates his late winner for Devonshire Cougars over Dandy Town in the Dudley Eve Trophy last week at the National Stadium. The success has come amid a run of form in which they have been unbeaten in eight (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Fresh from lifting the Dudley Eve Trophy after a sensational late fightback against Dandy Town last week, Cougars brushed aside a lacklustre Southampton Rangers outfit at home on Sunday with Elisha Darrell’s first-half hat-trick securing the points.

The victory not only stretched the club’s unbeaten run to seven matches in the league but also kept Cougars breathing down the neck of table-topping Robin Hood — sitting only two points adrift of the early pacesetters, having played a game more.

However, despite the sensational run of form, which has seen Cougars lose just once in their eight matches so far ― in which they’ve picked up five victories ― assistant coach Mills is refusing to allow anyone get ahead of themselves.

“Obviously, I’m delighted with how our season is going and to be keeping pace with Robin Hood, but it is important that we focus on one game at a time,” said Mills, who has taken over first-team duties from convalescing head coach Vance Brown.

“We don’t want to get carried away, and for me it is all about improvement within the squad and our performances.

“We’re are trying to build something at the club this season, but we have to just keep looking at one game at a time and not get ahead of ourselves.”

Reflecting on their latest victory, in which Darrell completed his hat-trick in 31 minutes, Mills highlighted the importance of starting on the front foot with the prospect that his squad would fade as the game wore on after their Dudley Eve Trophy final exploits four days earlier.

“I was fairly pleased with the performance but more so the result,” he added. “After our exploits in midweek with the Dudley Eve Trophy final the players looked a bit fatigued and lethargic at times, so it was a good three points.

“The message I gave to the players was to try and go out there firing from the outset and stamp our authority on the game early on. I knew the longer went, we could get caught up in a battle and I didn’t want that.

“We executed our plan brilliantly in the first half; not so much in the second half, which could have been a lot better from my point of view, but we move on.”

Meanwhile, despite being absent from the club, Mills revealed that Brown remains in constant contact with the first team as he continues his recovery.

“Coach Vance is getting better a day at a time,” he said. “He is in contact with us every day and we send our love to him as a club.”

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Published November 17, 2020 at 1:00 pm (Updated November 17, 2020 at 1:01 am)

High flyers Cougars staying humble

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