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Exeter v Pools preview
COLIN Cooper is a managerial novice compared to the boss he’s up against today.
Paul Tisdale, the sartorially elegant Exeter boss, is second to only Arsene Wenger in terms of longevity.
Appointed in 2006, Tisdale is into his eighth season as Grecians’ boss and today is his 375th game in charge.
Cooper, installed in May, takes control for the 14th time.
“Paul Tisdale has them playing some great football, their home record is fantastic and it’s another challenge in front of us,’’ reflected Cooper. “People can say we are going to get beat every week, it’s a great challenge.
“Paul has been there a long time and anyone who gets an opportunity to be a manager aims to be in the job a long time. I think it’s great what he’s done there.
“It’s something I’ve been trying to get into, so if I’m in a manager’s job for the same length of time as Paul has been then it’s great – everyone knows the tenure of a manager, especially in the Football League, is a short one.
“All of us in a job work hard and try hard to make our way in management. Credit to Paul for that.
“They play good football. You have to decide how you want your team to play.
“You have to be brave enough to stick with it. He has that belief, fair play. Let’s hope for a good game.’’
Cooper has overseen victories at Mansfield and Sheffield United in the last week. Pools have not lost away from home since the opening day of the season when they were thumped at Rochdale.
There’s a feeling that things are turning around at Victoria Park now Cooper and Craig Hignett are implementing their ideals on the squad.
“We’ve had a good, positive week. The way things happened at Mansfield gave everyone the confidence to go to Sheffield and see they could win the game,’’ said Cooper.
“In both games we were given little to no chance – media, coupons and the like – and that gives us a little spur as a group anyway.
“It’s the same again this weekend, that’s the challenge again.
“What I read and see, forecasts, odds and the like – it’s great. Sometimes you have to create a mentality and an atmosphere and it can give you an aim to stick it up one or two people.
“We battered Mansfield and deservedly won comfortably. We played a slightly different game at Sheffield, David Weir is trying to get them playing a possession game.
“And we looked good every time we nicked the ball back, we were a real threat on the counter attack.’’
Cooper has all his players available today, bar the suspended Steve Howard.
A couple of injury problems have cleared up, leaving Cooper with a dilemma or two.
“It’s hard to fit them all into the squad,’’ he admitted. “Sometimes it may be horses for courses. You have to put your strongest side out as often as you can and when we have changed it around the boys have done smashing.
“For me, do you revert back or look at the lads who have come in and done well and give them another opportunity.
“It’s two different teams on Saturday and Tuesday really. There’s six or seven in both teams, we had to make changes. What do I pick to get the best result at Exeter?
“It’s a difficult choice, but it’s part of football. It’s how you take the knocks and how you respond.
“That 11, 14, 15 or whatever, is it the right team to get us a result on Saturday? All I would say is that, and I said this on Tuesday, it’s nice to know the progression is coming and we have a group of players who want to roll their sleeves up and do well for this football club.
“We see progression, hunger and desire. We give them the opportunity they deserves.
“I don’t think expectation levels within the squad have risen, but results make you feel better about yourself. Make a header or a block as a defender and you feel better about yourself, as a striker score a goal and you feel better about yourself.
“They should be feeling good. I spoke before Sheffield United and something I was always told as a player was that there’s under confidence and complacency – it’s where you fit in the middle.
“If you got too close to complacency then you are in trouble. There’s no reason not to be feeling confident after two decent results and performances in the last two games. Be over confident and you get a kick up the backside.
“It’s our job to manage them to the extent that they will be bright and confident enough to make progress.’’
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