Hartlepool Utd boss says keep it going after Skybet manager and player of the month awards

Colin Cooper
Colin Cooper

HARTLEPOOL United have clinched double glory after Colin Cooper and Luke James won the Skybet League Two manager and player of the month awards.

But Cooper is now looking to see Pools carry on the brilliant form from October into this month and beyond – starting with tomorrow’s FA Cup first round clash with Notts County (kick-off 3pm).

The Pools boss says he is thrilled that both trophies have come to Victoria Park but he does not want them to rest on their laurels and is determinerd they keep winning.

“I genuinely feel it’s a nice bit of recognition for myself, Craig, Luke, the players and staff for the hard work we all put in during October and before that,” said the 46-year-old.

“We got the rewards in October, but the hard work began on day one – it’s credit to the squad and the work rate they are putting in.

“For me and Craig, it’s a nice pat on the back that what we believe in worked in October.

“Hopefully, it will work in November, December and through until the end of the season.”

Tomorrow’s visit of the League One strugglers kicks off a breathtaking sequence of three games inside seven days with the home Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tiec with Rotherham on Tuesday and a vital League Two trip to 10th-placed Newport next Friday.

“I think it is a very exciting week,” said Cooper.

“We’ve had a really good month in October and had a good start to November by beating Dagenham & Redbridge.

“We have two exciting cup ties coming up against teams from the league above us and then another long away trip, to Newport next Friday.”

First up though is the visit of the Magpies.

On paper, it has ‘cup upset’ written all over

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it – County are bottom of League One without an away win all season while Pools have won six of their last seven matches.

But Cooper says that it would “naive” for Pools to think of themselves as favourites and believes Notts County will be “hard to beat” under new boss Shaun Derry and his assistant, Greg Gabbott, the former Carlisle manager.

The Pools chief says results must be earned.

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” he said.

“I spent a bit of time in Nottingham [at Forest] and Notts County have a fantastic history in football.

“They are going through a rough time at the moment but they have a new manager and assistant in place.

“I know [previous manager] Chris Kiwomya well and he did have Notts County playing some decent football – we knew we were in for a tough match.

“Shaun and Greg will have some different ideas and how many they get across by tomorrow, who knows.

“They will want to make sure they don’t lose.

“Are we favourites? Who knows, who cares? I’ve seen Notts County play and I know we are in for a tough game.

“We are naïve if we think we can just turn up and win.

“We have had some good results because of some proper hard work, good team shape and discipline and that’s going to have to continue.”

Cooper believes that work ethic will overcome any concerns over the ‘curse of manager of the month’.

Numerous times a winning boss has come a cropper after the announcement of the award.

But Cooper hopes Pools have had their dip in form with the unlucky 1-0 defeat at Scunthorpe on the last Saturday in October.

“We’d not lost a game through October until we went to Scunthorpe,” he said.

“It’s hard thing to keep winning every week – if people are working their socks off over a course of six to eight games then may be they are due a little dip.

“Our job is to make sure that the dip does not get extended and we did come back with a win after Scunthorpe when we beat Dagenham.”