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Cooper aims to capitalise on Rovers’ malaise
WITH Bristol Rovers feeling an edge from their supporters, Hartlepool United are out to make the most of their opportunity.
In the past week, the Pirates’ boss John Ward has called on supporters to refrain from rounding on the manager, while his right-hand man Darrell Clarke, the ex-Pools midfielder, has demanded the players ‘stand up and be counted.’ Their comments come on the back of successive away defeats and when the sides meet at the Memorial Stadium tomorrow, Cooper is hoping to jump on the chance to add to Rovers’ malaise.
“I read those comments from John,’’ mused Cooper.
“They’ve had back to back defeats and for John to come out and say that then he’s creating a siege mentality and it can work two ways.
“If we go and f r u s - trate them then hopefully their fans will get frustrated and let it be known. If we give them the opportunity to get their noses in front then it all changes.
“If we get in front, we will feel good, them not so. We know how that feels and our lads have known that feeling for a while, but it’s a feeling I’m trying to get out of our lads.
“That feeling of going a goal down and thinking ‘here we go again’. So I would feel that John will be saying that Hartlepool will be feeling good about themselves after winning last week and he will be batting down the hatches and making sure his side are prepared.’’ Ward is one of the game’s more experienced managers and he appointed Clarke during the summer.
“John knows what he is doing, he will have them prepared and will know what’s happening,’’ added Cooper.
“We have to be 100 per cent on our game when we go away from home, we cannot afford to switch off ten per cent. No team in this league is good enough to play at three-quarters of their level or potential.
“So we have to be ready to give ourselves the opportunity to get something.’’ Pools have drew their last two away games 0-0. Neither were particularly inspiring, but Cooper was relatively satisfied with the outcomes.
“At Torquay we drew and almost won it. For me, it’s a case of continuing and building on things,’’ he said.
“Away from home it’s a different scenario and the onus is on the home side to attack.
You have to be difficult to beat, but we also have players to win games and create chances.
“I like to be on the front foot and attack. Away from home, that can be difficult. I’m sure John will be listing the things in his favour - will the journey affect Hartlepool, put them under pressure early.
“But if we get on the front foot, we are good enough to frustrate them and create chances. It will be hard, very hard because on the back of a couple of bad results for them, John will make sure the team are spot on.
Pools head off today and will have a run out at Bristol City’s training ground this afternoon.
Cooper said: “You call on contacts and friends in football and I’ve spoke to Sean O’Driscoll, who is allowing us to use their training ground at Bristol City on Friday.
“So we will get there, have a session to get the journey out of our legs, train and then get ready.
“For Torquay we broke the journey up and train on the way, but we arrived in Torquay later than I wanted to. It’s Exeter in a few weeks, so we will look at that one on the back of this weekend.’’
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