Cooper sets challenge to in-form Hartlepool United players

THE MAN IN CHARGE: Colin Cooper on the sidelines during the game against Bristol Rovers. Picture by FRANK REID

THE MAN IN CHARGE: Colin Cooper on the sidelines during the game against Bristol Rovers. Picture by FRANK REID

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COLIN Cooper today set a challenge to his Hartlepool United players: “Back up your performances.”

Pools are showing signs of turning around their fortunes after picking up four points from a possible six.

But tomorrow’s visit of League Two promotion hopefuls Oxford United represents an acid test of the progress made by Cooper’s side who will be looking to extend the unbeaten sequence to three games (kick-off 3pm).

“Good players in good teams will back up performances with results,” the manager told SportMail.

“Performances, I’ve been OK with from day one of the season, results may be not so.

“If you are going to progress then you have to follow up a result with a result.

“That’s the challenge for us.”

That particular c-word was on the manager’s mind as he prepares his players for the fourth-placed U’s who are undefeated on the road.

“We got our first home win a couple of weeks ago,” he said.

“We followed up with what should have been another win at Bristol which didn’t quite come off.

“This a chance to see what we are trying to do is developing game by game, week by week.

“We will only see that when the match comes on a Saturday.

“You can be a training ground player, but it’s about crossing the white line on a Saturday, especially at home in front of your fans.

“We got our first home win a couple of weeks ago, and followed up with what should have been another win at Bristol which didn’t quite come off.

“This is a challenge against a top four team.

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“It’s a chance to see what we are trying to develop is developing game by game, week by week.

“We will only see that when the game comes on a Saturday.

“You can be a training ground player, but it’s about crossing the white line on a Saturday, especially at home in front of your fans and that is a big test for any professional footballer.

“That is a big test for any professional footballer.