Matty Dolan will raise the standard at Hartlepool United - others must follow says Colin Cooper

Sheffield United's Kevin McDonald and Yeovil Town's Matt Dolan during the npower Football League One match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield
Sheffield United's Kevin McDonald and Yeovil Town's Matt Dolan during the npower Football League One match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield
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COLIN Cooper wants his players to emerge from their comfort zone and refuse to settle for mediocrity, following the example of new signings such as Matty Dolan.

The 20-year-old Middlesbrough loanee will go straight into the side for tomorrow’s visit of Fleetwood Town.

Dolan follows Boro team-mate Christian Burgess through the door at Victoria Park, while Bradford Park Avenue’s Michael Duckworth has also been rewarded a month-to-month contract after an impressive trial period.

Cooper is desperate to elevate standards within the relegated club and, in a forthright interview with SportMail, delivered a challenge to his players.

“We’ve got options now– there is no comfortable place any more,” said the Pools chief.

“I want people to be at it and show me how desperate they want to be in the side.

“No-one should expect to be playing.

“I’m looking for players with that hunger to go where we want to.

“I don’t want people who are happy to settle for mediocrity.

“Just because we’re playing our football in League Two doesn’t mean you have to settle for that standard.

“I want them to think higher and set their standards higher.

“If you do that, you never know, you might just get there.”

Cooper’s side are without a goal three games into their League Two campaign but did collect their first point at York City last weekend.

And, while the boss is eager to get that first win on the board, he nonetheless continues to see signs of encouragement.

“I see signs that we’re heading in the right direction but I think everyone will feel better if we get a win as soon as possible,” Cooper went on.

“I want our fans to go home smiling tomorrow night.

“But I think we are seeing signs of improvement.

“I think you have to try to raise the bar.

“Every player I’ve brought in I believe will do that.

“They are all young men who have brought energy and enthusiasm as well as technical ability.

“I’ve said from day one that I want us to play fast, entertaining football.

“We’re still tinkering with all sorts to find a solution at the top end of the pitch.

“I think we will get there.”