COLIN Cooper is calling on his coupon busting Hartlepool United side to continue defying the bookies with another win this weekend.
Pools travel to third-placed Exeter City on Saturday for the Sky Bet League Two tie fresh from their impressive 1-0 victory over Sheffield United on Tuesday night.
The second round Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win - which saw Pools make the draw for the northern area quarter final - has boosted confidence and Cooper is looking to maintain the momentum.
The former Middlesbrough and England defender said the bookies have Pools down to get beaten at the weekend and his players have to relish the “us against the world” mentality.
In the last home game at Victoria Park, Pools were beaten 3-1 by Oxford United but Cooper’s side found their goal-scoring form with a comprehensive 4-1 win against Mansfield Town at the weekend, who were in the top three at the time.
That was followed by Tuesday’s victory over Sheffield United but Pools will once again be underdogs away to Exeter City.
Cooper said: “We got a smashing reaction last week and backed that reaction up with a solid performance on Tuesday and some good counter-attacking.
“The funny thing about football is the coupons have all got us down to get thrashed on Saturday.
“It is a challenge - do we want to go down and back Tuesday up and get something?
“As I keep saying, the first point of call is not to lose when you go away from home and if you don’t lose you might give yourself a chance of winning because we will create chances.”
Cooper admits his side is still a “long way” from where he wants it to be but is pleased with the performances away from home over the past week.
Pools have only lost once on the road in League Two this season - the opening day 3-0 defeat at Rochdale - and the boss is hoping to turn around the home form.
Cooper said: “The away fans - whether they think it or not - are kind of the lucky ones at the moment.
“I would really like us to do that sort of performance when we get 3,500 at the Vic and if we do, then hopefully more people in Hartlepool will want to come and watch this team play.
“It has got the makings of something but we are a long way from anywhere yet but we are making little steps.
“If we keep making little steps forward and progress in ourselves, and as a group, then we are alright.
“We are not world beaters, we are not fantastic, but I believe we are making good progress.
“For me, in a short tenure, to see little steps forward, is encouraging but we are still a long way from where I think we can be and where we should be.”