Wednesday, 3 October 2012

News: Exclusive - Leamington sign goalkeeper Niall Cooper from Redditch United

Niall Cooper

LEAMINGTON have finally secured the signature of goalkeeper Niall Cooper from Redditch United, theonionsack can exclusively reveal tonight.

The will-he-won’t-he debate ended with the former Kettering Town, Romulus and Sutton Coldfield Town stopper, 21, switching to the Southern Premier leaders from their struggling local rivals after watching Tuesday’s FA Trophy replay with Belper Town.

Last week’s speculation was fuelled further when Cooper did not feature for the Reds in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Nantwich Town and he revealed today that United boss Simon Redhead had decided against playing him in their Trophy clash.

Cooper told theonionsack: “I spoke to the gaffer and the chairman at Redditch and it is understandable. The manager asked if my head was on it and I said ‘Yes, of course’.

“Leamington wanted to push things forward but the move wasn’t going to go through until Tuesday and the gaffer felt it wasn’t the right thing to do (to play Cooper).

“Simon wanted me to stay and there was nothing pushing me away from Redditch, it was just a good offer from Leamington.”

Cooper admits that he suffered a poor start to pre-season after stepping up from Sutton, but his fine form since then has convinced the Brakes to move for the Northamptonshire based player.

“There were no personal reasons, it’s just Leamington is a lot closer to home for training with my work commitments. As a club, with the position they are in, it is a lot more attractive too.

“I told Simon Redhead during pre-season that if I had the opportunity to step forward then I would and I have done. I would like to thank Redditch for taking the chance on me and sticking by me after a bad pre-season.

“But I see this as a step forward in my career, as Redditch was in the summer, now I am starting to find my feet at this level.”

The move throws into doubt the future of current Brakes custodian Kevin Sawyer, who himself only joined the New Windmill club in the summer, as Cooper explained he expects to feature regularly.

“When I started talking to Paul Holleran I put the question across and said straight away that if I was going to move then I wanted to be playing games rather than watching from the bench.

“It is not down to me and I’m not here just to walk into the side, but my overall aim is to play regularly, get spotted and go higher.

“I wouldn’t move if I did not believe I was going to be first choice and I have signed on the understanding that I would be playing games – whether that is straight away or over the next couple of weeks, we will see.”

Meanwhile, Redditch have replaced Cooper with Tamworth loanee James Wren, 20. 

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