NEALE Cooper is confident that his Hartlepool United side have “stopped the rot” - and insists they will soon climb clear of the League One relegation zone.
Pools remain four points from safety following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Doncaster Rovers, only an 89th-minute equaliser denying them a first victory in eight attempts.
During that stretch they have surrendered a winning position on six occasions, collecting just three points in the process.
Neil Austin had given them a 70th-minute lead when he coolly converted from the penalty spot but Rob Jones headed home at the death.
Cooper, though, sees reason for optimism in his side’s improved performance.
And the Scot believes his own mood is an indicator of the direction in which his men are headed.
“I felt better in myself after that game on Saturday, I saw a lot of good stuff,” said Cooper, who now takes his troops to Leyton Orient for tomorrow night’s rearranged game.
“I know in myself when they’ve done well and when they haven’t and I don’t hide that.
“So I can’t fault the effort they put in and we came so close to winning.
“It was a frustrating end but they’re a good side.
“I feel sorry for the boys because it’s been hard recently and confidence has been low.
“But that point has stopped the rot a little bit.
“We’ve got to be positive because it’s hard right now.
“This is a good point and the challenge is can we now build on it?
“I think we will because I’ve seen enough in the past few games which has made me feel a lot better about things.
“It’s still very early in the season and we know things have got to be better.
“But looking at the past few games a lot has cheered me – Darren Holden and Jack Baldwin coming in at the back have been superb and a lot of others have also picked up.
“So we’ll stay positive and get ourselves out of this.”
Cooper, though, now looks set to be without Middlesbrough loanee Charlie Wyke who, having only just replaced Ryan Noble, was forced off with an ankle gash during the second half.
The 19-year-old required stitches in the wound and news is awaited on whether or not he will remain with the club in the short term.
Evan Horwood is also a major doubt for tomorrow’s trip to East London after he, too, picked up an ankle injury at the weekend.