Cooper: Hartlepool utd’s start to season ‘nowhere near good enough’

Scott Flinders in action against Portsmouth. Picture by FRANK REID
Scott Flinders in action against Portsmouth. Picture by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United’s start to the season has been “nowhere near good enough”.

That is the honest assessment of Pools manager Colin Cooper after watching his side pick up a point in the goalless draw with Portsmouth on Saturday.

Despite earning a deserved draw, it still leaves the Sky Bet League Two club 22nd with just eight points from their opening 10 games of the league campaign.

And with almost a quarter of the season gone already, Cooper is keen to see his side improve quickly.

Cooper told SportMail: “The start hasn’t been good enough. Simple.

“I am not being flippant, that is just the reality.

“The lads are working hard, they worked hard over the summer and are a really honest bunch who want to do well for the football club and for themselves but eight points from 10 games is nowhere near good enough.

“But we will keep going.

“The lads are very hard working but it isn’t good enough. That’s fact.

“Eight points out of 30 isn’t good enough.”

Cooper was content though with the point secured against Andy Awford’s Pompey side - a result owed to goalkeeper Scott Flinders according to the Pools manager.

Pompey had four good chances to take the lead in the opening half, not all of them on target, but when Flinders was called into action he produced the goods to keep Patrick Agyemang and Craig Westcarr at bay.

Pools did have opportunities of their own and could have snatched the win after a late period of pressure but a Flinders save in the second-half from Westcarr was particularly vital.

Reflecting on the match, Cooper said: “They have definitely had the best chance in the first-half and the best in the second-half but we had three or four chances in between.

“At the end Andy [Awford] is pleased to be going away with a draw but he will have been disappointed at half-time not to be leading.

“We were a bit panicky in defence because of the position we are in, slashing at things in and around the box and not being calm.

“Second-half, the lads at the back felt more comfortable playing a higher line.

“Other than Scott Flinders having to make an outstanding save, the momentum was then towards the Portsmouth goal but we didn’t quite find the end bit.

“Scott is pleased with the clean sheet and rightly so, he made one outstanding save and a couple he felt comfortable with.

“We owe the point to Scott.

“Could we have nicked it at the end? Possibly but people are probably snatching at things, because of where we are.”

Left-winger Jack Compton had to be substituted after just 44 minutes with a sore calf and was replaced by Darren Holden.

Asked how Compton was, Cooper said: “Jack said he was fine at the start of the game but then within 30 minutes said his calf was sore.

“So, I don’t know.”

He confirmed he would be assessed.

- RICHARD MENNEAR