COLIN Cooper said he had no choice but to “throw the kitchen sink” at Coventry City in the final stages of last night’s match – including putting veteran defender Sam Collins up front.
The 46-year-old said his side had nothing to lose and has called on his players not to let the dramatic defeat bring them down for the next couple of days.
Pools gave everything in the final 10 minutes to try to get back into the second round replay with 36-year-old substitute Collins even lumped up front.
The direct approach helped win the corner, from which defender Jack Baldwin headed home the equaliser in the 87th minute.
Sadly, the FA Cup dream is over for another season after Leon Clarke scored his second of the night with almost the last kick of the game to send Steven Pressley’s side into the third round.
Cooper said: “We put Luke [James] on and had Andy [Monkhouse] playing in an in-between role.
“We had five or 10 minutes left and had to throw the kitchen sink at it.
“Sam is a handful and it was just a case of trying to have a focal point for Andy, Luke and James [Poole] to work off.
“It put Coventry under pressure and that is how the corner came.”
Cooper is now calling on his players to dust themselves down and prepare for the Sky Bet League Two match against Burton Albion at Victoria Park on Saturday.
Cooper said: “I genuinely felt as though we could come here and win and beat them at The Vic as well.
“It hasn’t quite happened for whatever reason but we will look at it, analyse and crack on with Burton on Saturday.
“The most important thing for the players is to get this out of their minds.
“When you walk off the pitch disappointed at the end of a match, sometimes it can leave you flat for three or four days.
“But we can’t afford that as we have a big game at The Vic and we need to make sure we are rested, prepared and any frustrations we have, are taken out on Burton.”
Trimdon-born Cooper also reserved praise for Scott Flinders, who was excellent again between the sticks - his 15th minute save to deny Clarke in particular was outstanding.
Cooper said: “From a defensive point of view, Leon Clarke shouldn’t have a free tap-in from there but Scott is an outstanding goalkeeper.
“We keep saying it and he keeps coming up with the goods when we need him.
“We haven’t needed him an awful lot but when we did he came up with the goods and that is why we all feel we have an excellent goalkeeper behind us.”
– RICHARD MENNEAR