Hartlepool United must bounce back from Crewe defeat to host Swindon

Antony Sweeney lays on the turf after he came close to a breakthrough for Pools during the 5-0 defeat against Crewe. Picture by FRANK REID
Antony Sweeney lays on the turf after he came close to a breakthrough for Pools during the 5-0 defeat against Crewe. Picture by FRANK REID

NEALE Cooper accepts nothing can be done about Hartlepool United’s disastrous campaign opener – but he will demand a response when they start afresh in League One tomorrow.

Cooper has spent the past week attempting to raise spirits so dramatically drained during last Saturday’s 5-0 thumping at Crewe Alexandra.

A DVD re-run at Maiden Castle gave players and staff the forum to air their views on the League Cup capitulation.

But tomorrow, against Swindon Town (kick off 3pm), Cooper is expecting his men to do their talking on the pitch.

“We can’t change what happened but we can make up for it tomorrow,” the Scot told SportMail today.

“Last weekend wasn’t the Hartlepool that I, or anyone, ever wants to see.

“But these things happen in football and we can’t dwell on it.

“I’m looking for a major response from the players tomorrow.

“They have worked very well this week and I’ve seen a great buzz in them since we sat down and talked about it, and I think we’ll do that more often.

“We went over all of the goals – we didn’t sit through the 90 minutes, I wouldn’t put anyone through that!

“But it was a very good meeting and it was a chance to talk about things as a group.

“It had to be spoken about because it wasn’t good enough and the players were told that.

“After that, everything has been positive.

“Now, this is a chance for them to go out and rectify what happened.”

And Cooper insists that the hurt from the Crewe defeat can serve as motivation against The Robins.

“I did not see that coming and I was hurting for a couple of days,” he said.

“If it doesn’t hurt then you shouldn’t be in football.

“I never moved last weekend.

“I can sit on the bus all of the way home and think about it, but you’ve got to pick yourself up because it’s my job to pick the players up.

“But we can use it as motivation tomorrow and I can see that there is a resolve among them to do that – we owe it to the fans as well, because I felt for them last weekend.”