THE Hartlepool United players cannot feel sorry for themselves and need to get over the 5-1 thrashing at Northampton Town quickly.
That is the view of manager Colin Cooper who wants to see his side take the game to Plymouth Argyle at Home Park on Saturday (KO 3pm) in a bid to banish the demons from Tuesday night.
Pools took the lead through Charlie Wyke at the Sixfields Stadium but in the end were comfortably beaten by Chris Wilder’s Cobblers thanks to some shoddy defending.
Cooper knows it is a cliché but says all his squad can do is knuckle down to some hard work and get back to the resolute side that recorded clean sheets in the two recent home matches against Shrewsbury and Tranmere Rovers.
“It sounds really clichéd but you get back on the training ground and you work towards the next game,” said Cooper.
“Try and put the Northampton loss to the back of your mind and that is all you can do.
“After the game I asked for openness and honesty and we had that discussion.
“I have been a player in that situation and all you can hope is that clear the load and then you move on. Quickly.
“Football is a fantastic sport because you get a chance to move on quickly and the games don’t stop whether you are feeling sorry for yourself or not.
“As a professional you cannot dwell on what has happened, you just need to focus on making things better.”
He revealed there was “animation and passion” in the dressing room after the Town defeat.
At his pre-match press conference he referred back to a tricky spell when he was playing for Middlesbrough and they were beaten 4-0 at home to Aston Villa before then going on a 12-match unbeaten run.
Cooper said: “After the match Tuesday I got feedback from young and old and all I said was as long as it clears the air and people air their thoughts then I have no problem with that.
“But when we move on, we all move on together.
“The week previous has been cut to ribbons on one performance.
“We have to revert to type and roll our sleeves up.
“Whether it happens or not, the response that group of players had at Middlesbrough was to go 12 games unbeaten.
“That is the kind of mentality you need.”
Cooper knows Pilgrims manager John Sheridan well and he is expecting a good game of football against a side 13th in League Two, with 10 points from eight matches.
They have won three but lost four and go into the game with 21st placed Pools on the back of consecutive defeats.
Cooper said: “John wants to replicate at Plymouth what he was doing at Chesterfield, to play good football and get them out of the division.
“It is not all going to be hearts and flowers, we all realise that.
“There will be ups and downs and that is the nature of the league we are in and the nature of the players that play in this league.
“Sometimes they will fulfil that potential and the next week they will hit a dip.
“Consistency and good decision making is really what gives players who have ability the chance to play at a higher level.
“John will be feeling as frustrated as I am but the fact is they have a few more points on the board than we do.
“I want to get something on Saturday to give everyone a shot in the arm so that when we come home the week after against Portsmouth we are feeling positive.
“It is not a bad place to play football, the pitch will be in great nick and if our players are prepared to roll their sleeves up and give them a football match then we will have a football match.
“But we have to make sure we keep the ball out of our net.”
Dangerman for the home side is striker Reuben Reid, who has scored five out of his side’s 12 goals all season.
Cooper told SportMail: “He has pace, power, goals and a lot of people would say someone of his ability should be playing at a higher level.
“Reuben will be one we will certainly have to keep an eye on.”
Pools: Flinders, Richards, Bates, Harrison, Austin, Brobbel, Miller, Walker, Compton, Harewood, Franks.
Subs (from): Woodman, Holden, Parnaby, Duckworth, Collins, Jones, Woods, Hawkins.