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Cooper's side head for Exeter
FOR all the miles chalked up, Hartlepool United don’t mind their trips to the West Country.
As the team sets off this morning for tomorrow’s game at Exeter, they go confident following two impressive and positive away performances in the past week.
But Cooper insists the victories at Mansfield and Sheffield United must be built on tomorrow.
Pools, in nine trips to the region, have lost only once in that neck of the woods, and that includes draws at Torquay and Bristol Rovers in recent weeks.
They will train at Exeter University later today and Cooper said: “We have been down that side of the country twice now and got good results, we aim for the same again. It’s a challenge at the end of a hard week. It wouldn’t be good of us if we went there and didn’t do ourselves justice. It’s been a really good week so far, we aim to top it off and be difficult to beat.
“Exeter will look at us and see we have improved. All I want to see is the things we are trying to do implemented. We have some talented footballers here.
“Confidence comes with results, we have to change mentality from a team used to losing to a team that doesn’t like losing and end up drawing and winning games.
“If you have the confidence to get there, bit by bit we are coming together.’’
Pools have played with a 4-5-1 system in the last two games, albeit with a handful of personnel changes.
With a full compliment of players available – bar the suspended Steve Howard – Cooper has options available.
“Look at last week we had to change at the 11th hour when Matty Dolan was injured and he couldn’t play at Mansfield and we didn’t know he was going to be out until Saturday,’’ he said.
“That presented an opportunity for others to come in at Mansfield and they did themselves proud.
“I think we have everyone fit and available and it gives me a problem in that players are ready and wanting to play.
“There’s not been too many injuries at all, impact injuries and a couple of suspensions, but soft tissue injuries have been minimal.
“Matty and Sam Collins should be fine, Jack Baldwin is available after suspension.’’
On their other two long-haul trips this season, Pools have adopted two different methods.
En route to Torquay they stopped and trained at Leicester City, while they used Bristol City’s training ground before their visit to Rovers.
“We travel to Exeter and get there and train on Friday afternoon,’’ said Cooper. “When we stopped in between on the way to Torquay we felt we were too late in getting there, as much as we had prepared.
“We were very grateful to both Bristol City and Leicester for allowing us to use their training grounds, and this time Exeter University have allowed us to use a pitch.
“It will give us the chance to prepare down there and stick to a routine.’’
Pools in the West Country
In their last nine trips down the M5 and beyond, Pools have lost only once.
Sep 21 2013 Bristol R 2 Pools 2
Aug 31 2013 Torquay 0 Pools 0
Nov 10 2012 Yeovil 1 Pools 0
Mar 24 2012 Yeovil 0 Pools 1
Jan 14 2012 Exeter 0 Pools 0
Feb 26 2011 Exeter 1 Pools 2
Jam 18 2011 Bristol R 0 Pools 0
Oct 2 2010 Plymouth 0 Pools 1
Aug 21 2010 Yeovil 0 Pools 2
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