Hat-trick hero Lee Cook predicts Conference teams are “going to struggle” to deal with Barnet after the Bees displayed their footballing credentials in a 4-0 win over Dartford.

John Akinde put the Bees ahead shortly before half-time and after the break, Cook’s treble was no less than the hosts deserved as they controlled proceedings from start to finish.

And Cook, who now has five goals in as many outings, believes the Bees have laid down a marker after a thoroughly-convincing display.

“When I woke up this morning and it was coming down quite heavily, I thought that would suit us because the pitch once the pitch is slick and wet, we can pass the ball better,” explained the winger.

“I thought it worked in our favour, it just took us a little while to get going as we were dropping off a bit deep in the first half and you could see it from the stand and the gaffer sorted that out at half-time.

The 32-year-old continued: “Once we got the ball passing and knocking it about, they couldn’t really deal with us, so I think a lot of teams are going to struggle when they come here and we start passing it like that.”

Cook’s hat-trick – the first of his career – means he is now the second-highest scorer in the Conference and the highest at The Hive. Ever the perfectionist, the former Fulham wideman is now looking to boost his assists tally, though.

He explained: I’m usually setting them up. I’ve only got one assist this year but I’m knocking the goals in, so I’m pleased.

“I spoke to John (Akinde) in the changing room after and said: ‘You’ve got more assists than me and I’m not happy about that.’ I’ve got more goals than him, so we need to switch that around a bit.

“As long as the goals are coming in, no matter where they’re coming from, [it doesn’t matter]. The defence is doing their bit and as long as they’re doing their bit, we’re going to score with the quality we’ve got,” added Cook.

After starting the Bees’ first four Conference fixtures, Cook was rested for the first time against the Darts, dropping down to the bench for the opening 45 minutes.

However, the winger had no qualms about head coach Martin Allen’s decision and felt the benefit of a brief break.

“We had a chat about it last week,” revealed Cook. “Two games in three days, for me that’s a little bit difficult at this stage of the season, so we had a little talk about it. I think it worked, I felt a lot fresher coming off the bench for the second half and I’m going to feel a lot better next Saturday now.

“All in all, it’s been a good Bank Holiday for us with the two wins. Certain players got rested at certain times; Charlie (MacDonald) has come off today, so he’ll be nice and fresh for the weekend. He’s managed the team well over the two games.”