NEALE Cooper has been denied a reunion with his former coach after John Ward was this week axed as boss of tomorrow’s opponents Colchester United.
The 61-year-old was assistant to future England manager Graham Taylor during the late 1980s at Aston Villa, and among their squad was the current Pools chief.
But Ward was sacked by the Essex club on Monday after a return of four points from the opening eight matches of the League One campaign.
His No.2, Joe Dunne, was yesterday installed as the new boss, and Cooper said: “It’s been a tough few weeks (for Colchester) and it has been for myself as well.
“Thankfully, I’ve had great support from everyone at the club.
“But it’s a shame for John because he is a very nice man and a very well respected coach and manager.
“He was assistant to Graham Taylor when I was at Aston Villa and he was a fantastic coach.
“Unfortunately he’s lost his position but sometimes that can spur a team on.
“But I’m only interested in how Hartlepool do at this moment and we need a result there tomorrow.”
It would have been the second time in a week that Cooper had come up against a face from the past.
Shrewsbury Town boss Graham Turner, whose side drew 2-2 at Victoria Park last weekend, was the man who originally took him to Villa Park in 1986, and Cooper reflected: “I was actually on holiday in Spain when Graham came out to sign me.
“I was in the villa and I thought it was a wind up, my mate said ‘Graham Turner is at the door’.
“But it was true and I ended up signing for them.”