NEALE Cooper today insisted Hartlepool United will not be distracted by the Harry Redknapp circus at Bournemouth.
The popular football boss and pundit has joined the Cherries as an advisor, a move welcomed by manager Paul Groves and the fans.
Redknapp (right), who lives in the area and is a former Bournemouth manager, has been a regular visitor to Dean Court this season since his shock departure from Tottenham.
He accepted an unpaid role with his local club and travelled on the bus with the squad to Yeovil last Saturday and was alongside colourful chairman Eddie Mitchell and vice-chairman Jeff Mostyn in the main stand at Huish Park. There is likely to be a media scrum at the ground on Saturday.
But Cooper told SportMail that while he has great admiration for the 65-year-old eastender Pools will be concentrating on trying to get their first away win of the campaign.
“Harry won’t want a big circus, he’s just there to help them out,” said Cooper.
“Him joining them will have given Bournemouth a big lift – he would give any club a lift.
“He is a fantastic manager and football person and character.
“I love his football philosophy and how he likes his teams to play the game.
“I think it’s great for Bournemouth but it doesn’t bother me and it won’t bother our players.
“I’m sure it won’t bother their management or players either and they will go about their jobs professionally.
“The Bournemouth people will be delighted Harry’s on board – it’s up to us to go and try to spoil it,” smiled the Scot.
Cooper insisted that Pools had more concerns about the 11 young men in red strips on the pitch rather than one likeable grandfather in the directors’ box.
The Cherries are only a few places above Pools in the League One table and have yet to win on home soil.
But Cooper is well aware of the quality of the side which won 1-0 at Yeovil on Saturday.
“By all accounts they are a very good team,” he said.
“Our chief scout went to watch them on Saturday and reported that they are the best side he’s seen [this season].
“But we’ve got to take the positives we gained from our match against Carlisle and go there and do our best.
“The players were as devastated as I was and the fans were frustrated which I totally understand.
“It was nice that people said to me that it was the best they have seen us play for ages.
“That was a positive but of course the negative was we still lost.
“Yes, circumstances hit us hard and we lost out in that mad 10 to 15 minutes near the end,
“We have got keep being positive and try to carry forward the good habits we showed last weekend.”