Hartlepool Utd boss: None shall pass at Burton Albion

Hartlepool boss Colin Cooper watches his side slip to defeat at Portsmouth last week. Picture by Frank Reid
Hartlepool boss Colin Cooper watches his side slip to defeat at Portsmouth last week. Picture by Frank Reid
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BELIEF. Positivity. Confidence.

All three are words Colin Cooper will be drumming into his squad ahead of the massive Easter weekend for Hartlepool United.

Cooper, to his credit, has not stopped being positive during the five-match losing run.

The Pools boss, as he says on the back page of SportMail, does not want his players being weighed down with fear.

But for all he is advocating a positive approach he knows how positive results are made - by being hard to beat.

“When you go away from home, you have to go with the mentality of not losing to give yourself a chance to win,” said the former defender.

“You can’t just go gung-ho and think things will just fall into place, that’s when you get turned over threes, fours and fives.

“You go with a solid plan.

“Our away form since Dagenham has not been good, you can’t rely on winning at home all the time, so you have to back that up by getting something away.

“Other than Accrington, we haven’t done that, that’s a fact.

“If you go away with a ‘none shall pass’ attitude and if it gets you a positive result of any description then you have at least one more point than when you got there.

“If you have that grinding out mentality, allied with some expression and some creativity, that one [point] might turn into three.”

Pools have gone from the edge of the play-offs to a place too close to the Football League trapdoor for comfort over the last five matches.

Cooper’s side have haemorrhaged points – a lot of them.

Pools have won none out of a possible 15 and the manager knows that has to stop before they do anything.

“At some point you have to simply try to arrest the bleeding,” said the 47-year-old. “You can’t just say ‘we’ll go and win this one and that one’ – yes we try to win every game but we must arrest the bleeding first.

“We trained well Monday and I was pleased with training on Tuesday, it was really intense, good tempo and no fear.

“But that was the training ground – the main bit is on a Saturday when the players go across the white line and the ref blows his whistle.

“That tests people’s mentality.

“The first port of call is get something, make sure you are not easily beaten, knowing full well that at some point we’ll create something in the game that will give us a chance to win.”

After tomorrow’s trip to the Pirelli Stadium, they return home on Monday for a six-pointer with Morecambe in a match fans can watch for just a fiver following this week’s Pack the Park initiative.

It is followed by a trip to Plymouth Argyle who are outsiders for a play-off place before Pools, for once, have a home game to finish with, against Exeter City.

“We have three Saturdays to go and obviously the Easter Monday game with Morecambe,” he said.

“We have four games and our challenge is to get as many points on the board as we can.

“The quicker we do that the better, you don’t want to be looking at games with Plymouth and Exeter as games we need something out of to stay in the league.

“They are four tough games – are we capable of winning all four? Yes we are.

“But in the current circumstances, are we capable of losing all four? Yes.

“So we have a challenge and it is a different kind of challenge to when everyone was patting us on the back not that long ago.

“We must roll our sleeves up – we are going to need strong minds and strong hearts. We have to try to allay any fears by getting those points we need to get us over the line then try to get a couple of enjoyable results at the end.”

Positive thinking.