FROM day one, Colin Cooper has been determined to give Hartlepool United fans something to cheer about.
They were not empty promises or an an attempt to ingratiate himself with the Poolie faithful who had witnessed some fairly uninspiring stuff over the previous season or two.
Cooper is a local fella, from just seven or so miles away in Trimdon, and he knows what Pools mean to the fans and the people of the town.
And the results are starting to come at Victoria Park.
Pools no longer have more points on the road after back-to-back wins over Plymouth and Wimbledon – occasions when Cooper has been impressed with the passion of the supporters in the stands and terraces.
“I’ve said from day one that there is nothing more pleasing for a football fan to go home on a Saturday evening having seen his or her team win,” said the 46-year-old.
“We’ve strived for that from day one.
“Sometimes it hasn’t quite happened but the plus point, from my persepective, is that the fans have really stayed with us.
“I’d like to think they’ve enjoyed seeing what we’ve tried to do even when the results weren’t quite coming.
“But we were never getting turned over, just getting beaten by the odd goal.
“We were trying to play good, progressive, forward-thinking, exciting football and I think they appreciated that.
“For me to back that up with a couple of results for them, especially the home fans, is great.
“We’re pleased with what they have seen away from home – until Scunthorpe we had only lost once on the road
“The away fans have seen the better end of it .
“And while the last two home games have not been our best two performances by a long shot, we have managed to get six points out of them.
“I want to come away from the Vic on a Saturday having got three points for the fans and the players feel the same.
“We are trying to play the football me and Craig want the team to play and trying to get improvements every day of the week.
“It is not always going to be perfect, there are going to be ups and downs.
“Oxford was a blip at home and we weren’t happy with how we played.
“But, I maintain to this day it was made to look worse than it actually was by that last five minutes and the referee’s decisions, unfortunately.”
Since that 3-1 reverse, Pools have lost only once – a slightly unlucky single-goal defeat at Scunthorpe.
The team have played only twice at home – both wins where Pools have had to tough it out before beating Plymouth 1-0 and Wimbledon 3-1.
“The Plymouth game was backs to the wall, us against the world type of stuff, which was great,” said the manager.
“Wimbledon posed us problems until we got a foothold.
“Tomorrow will be no different, it’s going to be tough.”
Dagenham & Redbridge, who only just avoided exiting the Football League at the end of last season, have started the season superbly.
It means Pools may have to reprise the gutsy efforts which have characterised the last two home fixtures.
“The lads have been working really hard as a team,” he said.
“I was chuffed with the guts they showed [against Plymouth].
“Yes, Scott Flinders made some good saves, which you would expect because he’s a good keeper, but the lads put their bodies on the line.
“The players felt a sense of injustice and the crowd felt it too, and they came with us.
“We had a couple of nice pockets of play against Wimbledon but there are times play is not going to be free-flowing and it’s going to be messy.
“Sometimes we’ll have to put our bodies on the line to protect the lead or react if a team comes back at us, like Wimbledon did.
“I’m as pleased as anyone that for the last Saturday and Tuesday at the Vic, the fans went home happy.
“We want to do that as many times as we can.”