SHAUN Cooper knows Crawley Town will be facing a different animal when they travel to Dean Court tomorrow.
Former Cherries captain Cooper, who made his comeback from injury in the 2-1 win over Portsmouth on Boxing Day, joined the Red Devils on a free transfer over the summer.
And the Isle of Wight-born midfielder believes his new club will face a tougher side than the one they beat 3-1 at Broadfield Stadium in October.
Cooper told This is Sussex: “They had a few players missing that night and I know from speaking to some of the players that a lot of the lads weren’t happy with certain things. It has all been resolved now and they have got their best players back.
“With the money they had put into it, to think that was the best they could field on that day was disappointing.”
Cooper added: “I think getting Eddie Howe back is the best thing the chairman has ever done. Results have shown what he is capable of and the talent in their squad, I felt, was being wasted before Eddie came back.
“I spoke to a lot of fans who were frustrated and it was quite sad to see considering the money they spent but now Eddie has gone back in and got it all in order.
“Eddie has the knack of getting the best out of players. He works with what he has and sees the strengths in each individual and he works with that rather than trying to impose a style of play that doesn’t suit the group of players that he has. I’d tip them for automatic promotion. I just hope they keep going... apart from when we play them.”
Meanwhile, Cherries boss Howe says midfielder Harry Arter is rated doubtful due to an ankle injury. Crawley’s Hope Akpan is suspended.
Cherries: (from) James, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Daniels, Fogden, McQuoid, Arter, O’Kane, Pugh, Pitman, McDermott, Grabban, Hughes, Tubbs, Fletcher, Partington, Zubar, Demouge, Davids, Jalal.
Crawley: (from) P Jones, Sadler, Hunt, Davis, Connolly, Simpson, M Jones, Adams, Alexander, Clarke, Cooper, Bulman, Walsh, Ajose, Torres, Akinde, Clifford, Kuipers.