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Cove Rangers: Paul Hartley wants five substitutes rule to stay

Cove Rangers boss Paul Hartley
Cove Rangers boss Paul Hartley

Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley wants the rule allowing five substitutes to remain for next season.

Clubs in the Championship and League One voted at the end of January to reintroduce the rule, which was in place during the Covid-hit season in 2020-21.

It came on the back of the Premiership bringing it in again to cope with Covid absences. The rule has remained in League Two all through this campaign.

In recent games, Cove have been able to utilise their squad, after surging into convincing positions against Peterhead and Clyde.

As well as making five changes at three separate intervals, managers are also able to name a nine-man substitutes bench to increase their options.

“I think it should stay in,” said Hartley. “It helps so many players, clubs and managers.

Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley
Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley

“It means you can change your personnel within the game and you’re not limited to three subs. It gives you better options and, if you’re doing well in games, you can give people minutes.

“We have to be cautious sometimes (with players). Everyone carries knocks now and then and we’ve had to use the squad for different reasons and change shape a couple of times.

“We’re trying to give everyone minutes, while ensuring we always pick our strongest team.”

The picture has not changed for Cove much in recent weeks. They remain five points clear at the top of League One, with the only difference being their nearest-challengers Airdrieonians have less games to catch them.

Montrose are the latest team who will try end Cove’s unbeaten run, when the two sides meet at Links Park this afternoon.

“They’ve always been close games ever since I came in to the club,” said Hartley. “They had a good result last week, despite going down to nine men.

Cove beat Montrose last time out at the Balmoral Stadium

“Results are what you’re judged on now. It’s not going to be pretty. We’ve got four games on the road and we need a strong mentality to keep doing what we’ve been doing over the last 19 games.

“We’ve not always played well, but we’ve always found a way (to win). I said that to the players – just to try find a way to win.

“But going away from home for four games sets a different challenge for everyone and we have to make sure we’ve got the right mentality.”

Cove will be without Harry Milne this weekend after their appeal against his red card against Clyde was rejected by the Scottish FA. Ryan Strachan remains sidelined with an Achilles problem.

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