WE’RE right behind you, gaffer.
That was the message from Steve Howard to Neale Cooper today as he admitted Pools had “let their manager down” at times this season.
Pools will be bidding to claw themselves clear of the League One drop zone with victory at Crewe Alexandra tomorrow (kick off 3pm).
That they reside in the bottom four serves to highlight the disappointment of their efforts so far this term, a fact Howard recognises.
“It’s not been good enough, simple as that, we’ve let the gaffer down,” declared the senior pro.
Howard, though, has revealed that the Pools dressing-room is united behind Cooper, insisting they, too, feel the Scot’s anguish.
“The gaffer is passionate and that’s what you want in football,” he said.
“I feel for the manager when I see him like that – he wears his heart on his sleeve.
“I wouldn’t like to be a manager I admit that much.
“I feel for him, and Micky Barron, when us, as players, don’t perform.
“The gaffer has picked us and we’ve got to go out and do it for him, not anybody else.
“Only we can change what happens on the pitch and we’re all determined to do that.
“We owe them more.
“We’re all in it together – without a shadow of a doubt.”
This weekend’s trip to Gresty Road comes on the back of Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United – in which Howard scored his first since re-signing for the club – and it was a performance both the striker and Cooper believe was Pools’ best of the season.
Memories of the opening day at Crewe, however, are still raw in the mind of Howard.
And the 36-year-old says that 5-0 humiliation in the Capital One Cup can serve as motivation tomorrow afternoon.
“We owe them one – big time,” he said.
“We went there and got stuffed 5-0.
“The Crewe lads would have walked away saying ‘Hartlepool, they’re useless’.
“You don’t want that as a pro.
“We’re determined to eradicate those five-nilers.
“But Tuesday gave us a lot of confidence.
“If we play like that then we will win, I’ve no doubt about that.
“We were all gutted on Tuesday night with the result
“But everyone started to look to Crewe straight away and we can’t wait for it.”