Colin Cooper hoping to create FA Cup highs with Hartlepool Utd

Colin Cooper on the side line against Sheffield United. Picture by FRANK REID

Colin Cooper on the side line against Sheffield United. Picture by FRANK REID

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WHILE the FA Cup may not have been the kindest competition to Colin Cooper as a player – he is looking to make amends for that as a manager with his Hartlepool United side.

The furthest the 46-year-old reached in the competition as a player was the semi-final between his Middlesbrough side and Arsenal at Old Trafford back in 2001-02, which the Londoners won 1-0.

But Cooper never made it off the bench and he admits there wasn’t many highlights in the competition during his playing career.

Now though, the former Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest and Millwall defender, is instead running the show from the touchlines.

And it is a case of ‘so far, so good’, after his Pools side reached the second round of the world famous cup competition with a 3-2 win over Notts County.

When asked if he had fond memories of the FA Cup as a player, Cooper was brutally honest.

Cooper said: “Unfortunately not.

“I would love to say yes.

“I was on the bench when Middlesbrough got through to the semi-finals at Old Trafford against Arsenal but never got on the pitch.

“I got to the quarter-final when I was at Nottingham Forest, the year [1996-97] Chesterfield got to the semi-final and played Middlesbrough.

“It was Chesterfield that knocked us out in the quarter final and with Forest that was as good a chance as I had to get to the final at that time.

“So, no unfortunately not many highlights. Exciting games but that is as good as it got as a player.”

The Sky Blues will be the fifth League One side Cooper’s men have faced this season in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and FA Cup competitions, so far winning three of them against Bradford City, Sheffield United and Notts County.

Rotherham United in the JPT was the only blot on the copy book and Cooper is hoping for another win against higher league opposition at The Vic on Saturday.

Cooper said: “For us, it is an opportunity to pit our wits against a team from the league above us for the fifth time this season.

“We have acquitted ourselves adequately in all those games, even Rotherham in the JPT, when we battered them from pillar to post but didn’t quite get over the line.

“We are going to have to be at our very best to give ourselves a chance of getting into Round Three but we can give Coventry a game, there is no two ways about that.

“Having seen Coventry play at Bradford a few weeks ago they looked a real threat and I know there is players missing and they have loan players that may or not be able to be selected.

“But I think Steven Pressley has enough players at his disposal to put a decent team out and think that they can still come to Hartlepool and beat us.

“Our job is to counter what they have got and try and create some problems for Coventry.”