Hartlepool Utd will welcome cup run starting at Crewe Alexandra

Neale Cooper
Neale Cooper

NEALE Cooper insists that he would readily welcome an extended stay in this season’s Capital One League Cup.

Pools kick off their competitive campaign in the first round of the competition at Crewe Alexandra tomorrow (kick off 3pm).

Last season saw Mick Wadsworth’s men dumped out at the first stage of all three cup competitions and this was flagged as a major disappointment at the club’s AGM in December.

Cooper is well aware of the financial benefits of a good cup run, but he is also quick to stress the role it can play in generating a feel-good factor around the squad.

“We’ll be doing our utmost to win the match because it’s nice to be in cups and it keeps your momentum going,” the 48-year-old told SportMail today.

“I love playing in any cup competition and it’s something to look forward to if you can stay in it.

“I like playing games more than training and these boys should do, too.

“It’s true as well about that momentum from the cup going into the league.

“It keeps a positive atmosphere around the place and it keeps you at it with more games on a Saturday and then Tuesday.

“We’ve got a few lads itching to get in the side at the moment as well and the more games the better.”

Tomorrow’s opponents are riding on the crest of a wave following last season’s play-off promotion from League Two.

Now under the care Steve Davis, The Railwaymen have a strong crop of young players in keeping with the tradition instilled by former boss Dario Gradi.

And Cooper knows a tough task awaits his men.

“Crewe have got a great tradition and they are a big club,” he said.

“We know what we’re up against, we’ve had them watched.

“They’re on a high from last year and we know it will be a tough, tough game.

“But we’re going into it on the back of a good pre-season.

“Now the season starts for real and your mindset does change.

“We’re all excited and it’s a good way to kick off the season.”