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Cook: My lads have to learn at Oxford
ACCRINGTON Stanley travel to England’s finest education centre tomorrow, with Paul Cook hoping his side learn fast from the defensive errors that have seen them slip out of the upper reaches of League Two.
The Reds make the trip to Oxford, not to see the dreaming spires or a university second only to the California Institute of Technology in the world rankings for higher education.
Instead they will visit the Kassam Stadium for a League Two fixture with Cook wanting his youthful team to continue their football education by showing they can make rapid improvements following back-to-back defeats.
Stanley have conceded six goals in their last two matches, losses to Rochdale and Tor-quay, and those results have seen them fall from fourth to 11th in the table – even if victory in their game in hand would still move them back to fifth.
Cook was particularly disappointed with his side’s display at Torquay last weekend and extra defensive work has been done on the training ground this week as a result.
“Torquay was just so disappointing but we can’t change what’s in the past,” said the Stanley boss.
“You’d like to think we won’t put in another performance like that this weekend and that we have learned our lesson.
“Preparations have been a little bit different.
“The last two defeats against Rochdale and Torquay, we think, have come for a reason.
“This week has been spent on doing the right things and players doing their jobs.
“The responsibility of doing your job on a football pitch is huge because I keep telling the players, when someone scores a good goal, you clap. I don’t have a problem with that.
“But we haven’t conceded too many goals where you’d say, ‘That was a good goal, well played’. A lot of the time it comes from us vacating areas of the pitch where we shouldn’t and making poor decisions.
“That’s something we’ve worked on a little bit more than we normally do this week.
“Because once we get our balance right and we get play-ers making those decisions, when we get beat we will hold our hands up.
“But we don’t accept it so well when we think we can influence it better.”
Stanley face an Oxford side who have slid to 19th after an injury crisis, having start-ed the season with three straight wins.
Cook may recall top scorer Padraig Amond, who netted as a substitute at Torquay.