COLIN Cooper has backed Darren Holden to recover from the mistake which presented Southend United with their winning goal.
The 19-year-old’s miss-hit clearance allowed the visitors to fashion a fifth-minute chance for Freddie Eastwood to fire the game’s only goal on Saturday.
Holden was starting at left-back in place of Peter Hartley – who joined Stevenage on Wednesday – and the academy graduate looks set to keep his place in the side.
“Darren will be fine, it’s a mistake and you learn from it,” Cooper said.
“I have said before that when I came to watch Hartlepool last year the two players who could handle a ball were Darren and Jack Baldwin, they stood out for me.
“Darren has played 20 games or so and he needs to learn.
“People make mistakes and I won’t give any stick for making a genuine mistake, but make a mistake and ask how you learn from it, that’s the way forward.”
Holden’s error saw Will Atkinson attack the by-line, dribbling by the defender, before squaring for Eastwood to hook home from close range.
And Cooper reflected: “Darren slashed at the ball and that’s when you miss-hit it.
“You have to be relaxed and we looked tense from the start.
“His first mistake was a slightly panicked clearance and his second was to lunge in as the lad skipped by him.
“Make a mistake and, in football, there’s a domino effect and there are incidents before the ball ends up in our goal – but as long as they look, learn and listen they will be fine.
“But I like Darren, he has energy and pace and I can help him with the defensive side of it as we move forward.
“He’s come in and played well in two games. He did well on Tuesday at Forest and was okay on Saturday.
“He will be disappointed but I like him, he’ll be fine.”