We go again is Cooper’s stance

PRESSURE FREE: Andy Monkhouse was one of Pools’ experienced heads who came to the fore on Monday

PRESSURE FREE: Andy Monkhouse was one of Pools’ experienced heads who came to the fore on Monday

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

GAMES and occasions like Easter Monday at Victoria Park don’t happen too often; but Colin Cooper wants his players to make sure Hartlepool United end their season on a positive note.

Pools ended a six-game losing streak on Monday as they dramatically beat Morecambe 2-1 at home.

Victory secured their League Two status, and while it may render their last two games, starting tomorrow at Plymouth and ending at home to Exeter a week tomorrow, pressure-free, Cooper won’t let his players ease up.

Pools will be backed by a healthy travelling support at Home Park, for their longest and last trip of the season.

Around 200 of the contingent will be dressed as Virgil from Thunderbirds in keeping with their tradition of their last away game of the season being a fancy dress spectacular.

“Our job is now to try to get as many points as we can and finish as high as we can out of respect for our own fans,’’ said Cooper.

“I am looking forward to seeing our following and out of respect to them and all our fans we’ve got to turn up at Plymouth and put in a decent away performance.

“It’s up to us to try to recreate what happened on Monday.

There’s something riding on every match.

“Granted you can be a little bit more relaxed and have more freedom to express yourself on the ball.

“But you still have to do all the right things, be disciplined and compact.

“I would argue against anyone who says people don’t put the same effort into a game because there is supposedly nothing riding on it, there is a lot of professional pride for one thing.’’ Now Cooper is hoping to implement his plans for the next season, before his players break up for the summer.

With a number of players out of contract, Cooper is looking to sit down again with chairman Ken Hodcroft and chief executive Russ Green to come up with a plan for the long-term future.

“For months I’ve had things in my head that I want to implement,’’ he said.

“I had a meeting with the chairman two weeks ago and we agreed when things were taken care of we can sit down and put those plans into action.

“Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to do that over the next week.

“As a manager if you can get some business done quickly then you are on the front foot.

“Yes, you will probably still be doing business right up until the end of August [when the transfer window closes] but that’s life.

“If you can get a bit done in between then great, if I can’t I’ll have to be patient. There are players I have highlighted but you have to accept where we are in the football pecking order.

“I’d imagine players and agents will be using Hartlepool as a bounce board to get other contracts elsewhere.

“Over the course of the summer players are available and we’d try to persuade the to come and play for us or, alternatively, you have to wait until the end of August to get your business done.’’ Cooper also needs to appoint a new number two, after working alone since Craig Hignett left for Middlesbrough.

He said: “I have ideas in my head how I want my staffing to be for next season. I’ll sit down with the chairman and chief executive and hope we can get the plan going forward.

“The plans I had after Craig left have not quite come off. I’d like to get something implemented and then move on the plans I have for the club and the team for next season.’’

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