COLIN Cooper admits that classy Nottingham Forest provided a snapshot of where he would like to take Hartlepool United.
The Championship outfit were slick in possession and incisive in attack as they swept to a 3-1 victory over Pools in last night’s Capital One Cup First Round.
And Cooper reflected: “I would love to think I can bring that kind of football to Hartlepool but that’s a long way away.
“We’re seeing little snippets of the lads trying to do what we want and we’ll continue to do that.
“Hopefully we can come up with the solutions and combinations we need over the coming months.
“But we still need to win games in that time so it’s about striking a balance.”
Forest, who bossed for the majority, claimed their victory thanks to goals from Radoslaw Majewski, Greg Halford and Matt Derbyshire, while Neil Austin headed a late consolation for the visitors.
“I said to the lads that it’s difficult against top-end footballers,” Cooper continued.
“They dominated possession but we knew they’d do that so the hope was to catch them on the break, which we did once or twice but still that final piece needs work.
“But they were very good, they are just a better team than us.
“If you go chasing off your shape then good teams will just play around you and that’s what happened at times.
“Two of their goals were very clever, the other, from a set-piece, was disappointing.
“But we finished brightly and got our goal.
“Although we did say after that we hope Neil Austin isn’t still top goalscorer in a few weeks’ time.
“But Neil did what we’ve been asking them to do, keeping alive balls which get cleared and we got a goal from it.
“So there were positives in that the lads gave it their all and we did get in some nice positions at times.
“But we came up against a very good team who will be challenging at the top of the Championship and we’ve no complaints with the outcome.”