Hartlepool Utd boss wants players to start earning win bonus

Hartlepool United manager Colin Cooper during the game against AFC Wimbledon. Picture by FRANK REID
Hartlepool United manager Colin Cooper during the game against AFC Wimbledon. Picture by FRANK REID

COLIN Cooper has revealed he worked hard during the summer to introduce a new bonus structure at the club.

Now he just wants to see his Hartlepool United players start taking advantage of it by getting back to winning ways.

Pools are second-bottom in Sky Bet League Two with six defeats from their opening nine league matches.

Cooper has once again stressed the need for consistency from his players.

Pools picked up four points in their previous two home matches - a 2-0 win over Shrewsbury Town and a goalless draw against Tranmere Rovers.

Only to then fall to a heavy 5-1 defeat away to Northampton Town before last weekend’s 2-0 loss at Plymouth Argyle - which saw them slip into the bottom two.

The Pools manager said he’d “love” to see his side produce the kind of performance against Shrewsbury on a weekly basis, but knows the reason players are in the fourth tier of English football is because they sometimes lack consistency.

Cooper said: “If you don’t finish in the higher levels of the league then that is because you will have shown a level of inconsistency.

“That has happened to this club for a number of years.

“If the same people are repeating the same things over and over again then that is why they end up playing in League Two.

“If you have young players then you have to accept they are going to make mistakes from time to time, as long as they want to improve.

“But by the same token they have to understand that in order to give yourself a chance in football you can make a mistake a couple of times but if you keep repeating it, then you will only go so far.

“Players here have the ability to play higher - both young and old - but they need to be six or seven out of 10 each week.

“Never four but on the odd occasion you might be an eight or a nine,” said Cooper, who was talking ahead of today’s match at home to Portsmouth in League Two.

He felt his side should have taken something from the match at Home Park last weekend.

But Cooper admitted what the players cannot do is put in performances similar to the one at Northampton Town, where Pools were fortunate to escape with conceding five goals.

Cooper added: “We would love to play like we did against Shrewsbury every week but the reality is, in order to maintain that you have to have a high level of squad and players.

“But what you cannot do is performances like at Northampton, you have to find the in-between.

“At Plymouth we had opportunities to go and get something from the game but we didn’t take them.

“If we get presented with chances we have to stick them in the goal and keep them out the other end - that’s football and every manager up and down the country will tell you that.

“Consistency is key and considering how hard I worked to put a bonus structure in place in the summer, I’d like to see them get some of it.”

Meanwhile, Hartlepool United have confirmed they have agreed a deal to bring Middlesbrough’s utility man David Atkinson to the club on loan.

The 21-year-old had trained with Pools while negotiations had been ongoing between the two clubs and a deal was confirmed on Friday lunchtime.

It is for an initial month but Colin Cooper said at his pre-match press conference that he was hoping to have the Boro man with Pools until Christmas, so an extension is likely.

Comfortable anywhere across the back four or in midfield, Atkinson has come through the ranks at Middlesbrough and has captained the club’s Under 21 side.

Cooper said: “He’s been challenging for first team football at Middlesbrough until quite recently so we’re really pleased to get him through the door here because he’ll definitely add something for us.”

Atkinson has been handed squad number 27 and was expected to be part of the squad for the visit of Portsmouth.

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