Colin Cooper gives Hartlepool United players a rest but expects them to come back firing

SO CLOSE: Antony Sweeney has an opportunity saved by Bury keeper Brian Jensen. Photograph by FRANK REID
SO CLOSE: Antony Sweeney has an opportunity saved by Bury keeper Brian Jensen. Photograph by FRANK REID

COLIN Cooper has no qualms in giving his Hartlepool United squad a couple of days off but has warned them to come back firing as they look to push up the table in 2014.

Pools’ 3-0 New Year’s Day defeat to Bury at Victoria Park brought a disappointing end to a busy run of four Sky Bet League Two matches over the festive period.

But the defeat to Coventry City in the FA Cup second round replay – and the postponement of Saturday’s trip to Southend United – means Cooper’s players now have a free weekend.

And their gaffer had no problem in giving them a couple of days off to rest and recuperate.

If Pools had beaten the Sky Blues they would be playing Barnsley but instead their next match isn’t until next Saturday, when Rochdale visit the Vic.

Cooper said: “Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be playing Barnsley in the FA Cup.

“That is not the case so what I have said to our players is we have been in six-months and the lads have worked extremely hard.

“Christmas is a tough time for professional sportsman, although they do get very well rewarded for that.

“What I have said to them is because we do have that little break, if I was the manager of Manchester United then I think we would be jetting off to the sun somewhere to get a bit of sun on our backs and freshen the batteries.

“But I’m not manager of Man U so all I can do is say ‘go and have a couple of days with your family and your friends, celebrate the New Year, but on Monday, we’ll start ploughing towards Rochdale, I want you ready’.

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“2014 hasn’t started brilliantly for us so I’m going to wipe that from my memory and say that our 2014 starts on the 11th.”