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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Bury's new player-coach Cooper predicts promotion next season

PUBLISHED: 15:57 27 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:57 27 February 2019

Ben Cooper, who has been unveiled as a new player-coach at Bury St Edmunds. Picture; CARL MARSTON

Ben Cooper, who has been unveiled as a new player-coach at Bury St Edmunds. Picture; CARL MARSTON

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Former Premiership prop forward, Ben Cooper, is relishing the chance to take an exciting new player-coach role back at his former club Bury St Edmunds, after being officially unveiled in his new post this afternoon.

Bury St Edmunds Head Coach Nick Wakley, right, welcomes Ben Cooper back to The Haberden. Picture: CARL MARSTONBury St Edmunds Head Coach Nick Wakley, right, welcomes Ben Cooper back to The Haberden. Picture: CARL MARSTON

And Cooper has no hesitation in predicting promotion for the fourth tier Wolfpack next season.

Bury are currently eighth in the National League Two South, going into Saturday’s away match at Worthing Raiders.

Cooper will just assume a coaching role at The Haberden until the end of the season, under Head Coach Nick Wakley, because he is still contracted to play for his present club Bedford for the rest of the 2018-19 campaign. But he will be available to play for The Haberden club from next season.

“The first goal is achieving promotion next year, that is a definite,” said 29-year-old Cooper.

Prop forward Ben Cooper, who has returned to the Bury St Edmunds club where he started his career. Picture: CARL MARSTONProp forward Ben Cooper, who has returned to the Bury St Edmunds club where he started his career. Picture: CARL MARSTON

“As well as doing the promotion on the playing side, I think we also need to build on the community side. For me it’s massive that we get everyone involved in this. We can do more to get outsiders in, not just sponsors but supporters.

“As far as ultimate goals, you have to take it year-by-year, over the long term.

“If we get promotion next year, which I honestly believe we will, then we re-evaluate and not get ahead of ourselves, and perhaps just survive for the next year.

“It’s all about setting realistic goals. I wouldn’t want to say we want to be a Championship side in four or five years, because that may not happen. You don’t know until the following season.”

Suffolk-born Cooper, who has spent most of his life living in-and-around Bury St Edmunds, and was a pupil at King Edward VI School, was part of the infamous Green & Gold Bury St Edmunds Colts team that won the National Colts Cup in 2007.

He went on to play senior rugby for Bedford and London Welsh, playing more than 100 games for Bedford and a further 80 Championship games for London Welsh, in addition to 24 Premiership appearances when the latter club was in the top flight.

Bury’s Performance Director, Terry Sands, said: “It is a sign of our growing reputation that we are able to make signings like this.

“We are adding a small number of quality players to the outstanding foundation we already have at the club, and Ben is a player who can really help us take the next step as a club.”

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