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Pools positive despite a disappointing start
FOUR games in, no goals. But Colin Cooper insists there’s no-one at Hartlepool United feeling sorry for themselves.
Pools are still struggling to shake-off the effects of last season’s relegation.
But, in the last two games, there’s been signs of positive progress under Cooper, who was appointed in May, long after Pools fate was sealed.
With five of his own players in last weekend’s starting XI, there’s been a fresher look to Pools of late ahead of today’s game at Torquay.
“The mood, attitude, energy and enthusiasm has been great,’’ he declared.
“But everyone will feel better with a win, people don't enjoy losing football matches.
“I get frustrated the same as the lads and the fans.
“But I genuinely believe that we're one goal away from putting a little run together.
“As soon as people start feeling good about themselves then the losing streak might turn into a winning one.’’
Cooper, hands-on in training, has been working to engineer an improvement on the club’s Maiden Castle training ground all week, as well as during yesterday’s session at Leicester City’s base on the way to Torquay.
“I’m putting as much hard work into this football club as I can and I think there’s enough quality to improve things,’’ he said.
“You can work hard, do all you can and then if you're battering teams and you keep getting nicked 1-0 then that frustration becomes 'oh God, here we can again' every time you concede a goal.
“We are creating enough chances for one goal to turn into two and three.
“I can't sugar-coat that we haven't scored and that is the focus of what we're doing on the training pitch.
“Because I feel there is not a whole else wrong. Things there are far from perfect, but we are keeping the ball, making chances and more.’’
Pools have lost their two home games by the same 1-0 scoreline, with the games a mirror image of too many of last season at Victoria Park, but Cooper said: “It’s easy to be humble when you go away with three points, but both Fleetwood and Southend went away humble, admitting they got away with it.
“But if we're creating enough chances to win a game then we have to win – we can't allow opposition teams to get away with murder which is what is happening now.’’
Pools go to Plainmoor this afternoon sitting second-bottom in the Football League, but Cooper is wary of – certainly at this stage of the season – putting any pressure on his charges.
He said: “We can't start saying 'this is must-win, this is the most important game'.
“If you do that then you add pressure on yourself.
“We've just got to keep doing what we've been doing and hopefully the goals will come.
“And we work hard to get players in the right areas.
“I'm experimenting with other things in training and I'm looking for that ingredient which might just spark something. We organised a reserve game to look at one or two things this week. We will look again and let's see what combination we come up with.’’
Cooper was happy with the reaction from the Victoria Park crowd last weekend, their applause in defeat a sign, he feels, that the crowd are appreciating what he is trying to do.
“The reception we got at the end on Saturday was fantastic,’’ he said.
“I hope they're seeing progression, but goodwill only goes so far. We need to give them some results, something to smile about, and making them more willing to stick with us. Patience only goes so far with everybody.
“I was really pleased with their reaction and we're working hard to put results right.’’
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