COLIN Cooper has been thrilled to see Hartlepool United “play catch up”.
Now the Pools boss is anxious they stay in the race.
Four straight League Two wins has lifted them to 14th and should they win tomorrow at Glanford Park, they would climb above Scunthorpe United who are only two points and two places better off.
“What this month has done is given us the opportunity to catch up the rest of the league,” Cooper told SportMail.
“Hopefully as well, it will start the players believing they can be looking up.
“As I keep saying it’s about progression.
“We need to keep progressing every day, every week.
“The league table looks a lot better than it did four, five matches ago.
“But all we’ve done is caught up the pack and in order for us to continue our progression we’ve got to keep doing the things that have been getting us results.
“Once you start thinking you have arrived that’s when you get a kick up the backside.
“I’m not saying it’s not going to happen, at some point it might.
“But we must try to guard against it by making sure we have the same philosophies in what we do to make sure we try to get the results.
“It’s not going to be perfect all the time – there are going to be blips.
“But as long as we keep getting the same work ethic out of the players then we can’t ask for more, may be apart from demanding a little bit extra quality.”
Quality was certainly in evidence at Mansfield, Sheffield United and Exeter, but the last two home games have been as much about quantity – the amount of effort they have needed to put in to defeat Plymouth and them Wimbledon.
Ten-man Pools beat the Pilgrims thanks to a tremendous shift from the players and a stunning individual goal from Luke James.
And on Tuesday night, Cooper’s side again had to battle to see off the Dons via goals from Simon Walton, James and Matty Dolan.
Cooper feels the sequence of results have been deserved after showing promise but gaining few points early in the campaign.
“We sat here post Rochdale, Southend, Wycombe, Fleetwood and believed we weren’t a million miles away – I think that’s now been justified,” Cooper said.
“Mansfield we showed spirit, scored some really nice goals – Exeter the same.
“In these two home games I don’t think we have played as well as we have in those other home matches I’ve mentioned, but we have won.
“Maybe luck is on our side a bit now and things are going for us.
“The hard work we are putting in on the training ground is perhaps paying off.
“They boys are feeling good about themselves and how they are going about it.
“People in football I have spoken to have said that we are winning games and we look organised.
“I think for me and Craig that’s a big pat on the back.
“You have to be organised, disciplined and be hard to beat in order to have the opportunity to score goals.
“Despite not playing fantastic flowing football at times, we do look organised and that’s a nice thing for a manager.”