Colin Cooper asks Hartlepool United to bounce back against Dagenham & Redbridge

MOVING FORWARD: James Poole in action against Scunthorpe United. Picture by FRANK REID
MOVING FORWARD: James Poole in action against Scunthorpe United. Picture by FRANK REID

DEFIANT Colin Cooper has told his players to take defeat “on the chin” and bounce back to winning ways.

Hartlepool United’s 1-0 loss at Scunthorpe United marked the end of an impressive few weeks for Pools which had seen them rack up five consecutive victories, including four wins in Sky Bet League Two.

But a second-half strike from Sam Winnall prevented Pools making it six with a curled effort past Scott Flinders after a mistake by on-loan Middlesbrough defender Christian Burgess.

Cooper is now looking for a reaction from his players ahead of the weekend visit of Dagenham & Redbridge to Victoria Park.

He said: “I’ve said to the players that when a winning streak comes to an end what is your reaction and that is what I will be interested to see this week.

“I don’t want to see anybody feeling sorry for themselves because the month of October has been very good, other than Saturday.

“We have to make November as nice if we can.”

Cooper, who thought his side were the better team, said morale was low among his playing staff in the dressing room following the final whistle but he said they should be proud of their recent efforts.

The 46-year-old said: “The lads had their chins on their shoelaces when we walked into the dressing room.

“But I made one or two points and I have to say they can’t give us any more than they are giving us.

“We were just a smidgeon short on Saturday and just lacking that bit of extra quality.

“Fair play to Scunthorpe, that back-four plus the midfield four and the goalkeeper did what they had to do at the times they needed to do it.

“We just didn’t have that little bit of extra quality to convert the one or two opportunities that we had.

“I don’t think we created an awful lot but at least their defenders and goalkeeper had to defend for the last bit of the first half and start of the second and we made them defend their lead after they scored in order to keep the three points.

“I have to say that the players have been very good and all I’d like to see now is that we rest, recover and make sure that when Dagenham come next Saturday we are ready.”

Scunthorpe manager Brian Laws - who was tipped for the Pools job last season before John Hughes was given the job - had to change his side’s formation three times during the course of Saturday’s match and Cooper believed his side were in control for most of it.

Cooper added: “Other than a goal and a few hair scary moments I thought it was a football match we were in control of but we haven’t been able to do enough to win it.

“Credit to Brian Laws and Scunthorpe and as long as we win with humility and lose with humility then we will be all right.”