Bradford boss Mark Hughes heaps praise on goal-hero Andy Cook



Posted Sunday, March 19, 2023 by PA

Bradford boss Mark Hughes heaps praise on goal-hero Andy Cook

Bradford boss Mark Hughes admits Sky Bet League Two’s leading scorer Andy Cook is in the form of his career after his brace rescued a point in a 2-2 draw at home to Hartlepool.

The struggling visitors looked on course to give their survival chances a huge boost after leading twice.

Callum Cooke came back to haunt his former club with the first goal before Dan Kemp, who had pipped Cook as the division’s player of the month for February, restored the lead.

But Cook hit back each time – the second with a superb volley – to take his tally for the season to 25 with 22 in the league.

Hughes said: “It’s far and away the best level of form he’s hitting since I’ve been here – and I’d imagine it won’t be far off in his career.

“The second goal was great. I was watching Newcastle on Friday and it was very similar to their centre-forward’s.

“His general play is a lot better as well. He’s scoring goals but he’s also bringing people into play and making it difficult for the opposition.

“In terms of clear-cut chances, that’s arguably the best we’ve played in terms of creating opportunities where we need to score.

“Dara (Costelloe) had two really good opportunities. Cooky could have scored four and had three assists.

“On another day we could have won 6-3 but it didn’t quite happen. I thought we showed good character.

“We were behind twice, so to come back was good and we should have won the game given clear-cut chances created.”

Cook twice went close in the first half and Costelloe also should have scored before Bradford fell behind, Cooke smashing home from just inside the penalty area.

Bradford were booed off at half-time but responded with an equaliser four minutes after the restart as Cook converted Richie Smallwood’s free-kick.

Costelloe missed two good chances and Hartlepool took advantage through Kemp.

But Cook rescued a point for Bradford as he crisply volleyed home a cross from Scott Banks.

Hartlepool manager John Askey has overseen four draws since taking charge.

He said: “It’s another improvement from where we were and we are disappointed not to get three points.

“There were loads of pluses, we created a lot of chances and to come here and put in the effort we did and play as we did, you can’t ask for any more.

“Both goals were fantastic and came from good football. We did that throughout and exploited the frailties in their game.

“We didn’t worry too much about what they were going to do. We concentrated more on how we were going to hold them up and it worked.

“There are things we need to improve on. We’ve got to be better in both boxes with set-pieces.”

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