Cooper starts for Reds against former club

First published in Crawley Town by

Shaun Cooper makes a surprise return to the Crawley starting line-up for their clash with former club Bournemouth at Dean Court today.

Cooper made a comeback as a late substitute against Portsmouth on Boxing Day after being sidelined for three months by a groin and hip injury.

The former Cherries midfielder admitted after that match that it would take him a while to get back to full fitness but has been thrown straight in against the club he left to join Reds in the summer after seven years.

Cooper's return is one of two changes to the side which won 2-1 at Fratton Park with Dannie Bulman also recalled to the midfield in place of the suspended Hope Akpan.

Top scorer Billy Clarke drops to the bench as boss Richie Barker reverts to the 4-5-1 formation which proved so successful in the recent win at Stevenage.

Barker makes two further changes on the bench with Jonte Smith and Connor Clifford coming in and Nicky Ajose dropping out of the squad altogether.

Bournemouth make one change from the side which beat Yeovil 3-0 on Boxing Day but there is no place in the starting line-up for former Reds striker Matt Tubbs.

Josh McQuoid comes into midfield at the expense of former Albion youngster Wes Fogden with Tubbs on the bench alongside another former Crawley striker, Steve Fletcher.

The Cherries feature former Albion defenders Steve Cook and Tommy Elphick at the heart of their defence with further Sussex connections on the bench in the shape of goalkeeper Shwan Jalal, from Hastings, and ex-Eastbourne Borough loanee Joe Partington.

Bournemouth (4-4-2): James; Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels; McQuoid, Arter, O'Kane, Pugh; Grabban, Pitman. Subs: Jalal, Tubbs, McDermott, Fogden, Hughes, Partington, Fletcher.

Crawley (4-5-1): P Jones; Hunt, Connolly, Davis, Sadler; Adams, Bulman, Simpson, Cooper, M Jones; Alexander. Subs: Kuipers, Walsh, Torres, Clifford, Akinde, Clarke, Smith.

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