COLIN Cooper has begun his ‘first’ pre-season with Hartlepool United, admitting he will be judged on what he can “deliver.”
When he addressed the Pools squad 12 months ago for the first time he was speaking to players he had inherited from previous regimes.
Yesterday, Cooper was talking to ‘his’ players and is looking forward to getting ready for the Sky Bet League Two programme which starts on Saturday, August 9 at Stevenage.
He believes he is in a good position to push on for a successful season, especially as he has signed Matthew Bates and Stuart Parnaby.
“Everyone is a critic, everyone knows better than you,” Cooper told SportMail.
“I admit I will make decisions that are going to be wrong, I will make decisions that are going to be right – and I’ll make some that are in between.
“I’d like to think I know what I’m talking about, time will obviously tell.
“I will be judged on what you can deliver and what you can recruit.
“When I came in to this job, everything was in place.
“Now, three players have left the club so my job is to replace what has gone with players who, in my opinion, who hopefully will benefit the club going forward.
“You start off with a list of targets and if you can get a certain percentage of those targets through the door then you will be happy with your recruitment.
“We have brought in Matthew and Stuart and I am chuffed to have them.
“The loan market will obviously come into the equation and we have to accept that.”
Cooper needs more players but he is pleased with the players he has retained as well as the ones he has enticed to Victoria Park.
“I have started pre-season positively,” said the 47-year-old.
“The players who are already here want to be here.
“I reiterate, when I walked through the door last summer everything was already in place.
“But I’ve had honest conversations with the players and they want to be here and they see something they believe is positive.
“My job is to make us stronger, add experience – which I have done, there is no reason why this season can’t be exciting.
“We proved last year we can compete, all we need to do now is to try to improve.
“That’s my task – to try to improve this club.”
Pools showed some great promise last year while displaying some frailties, none more so than the losing sequence which sucked them into a relegation struggle.
But Cooper says he will maintain a calm and honest approach to the job.
“Football is all about ups and downs,” he admitted.
“Never think you have cracked it when you are on the up and never believe the trapdoor will open when you are on a down.
“You need to try to keep somewhere in the middle.”