CUP FEVER! – Hartlepool Utd boss desperate to beat Coventry City and land big name in FA Cup

Colin Cooper
Colin Cooper

COLIN Cooper admits he is “desperate” for his Hartlepool United side to progress to the Third Round of the FA Cup – to boost the club both on and off the pitch.

Tomorrow his players take on League One side Coventry City in the Second Round of the FA Cup at Victoria Park (3pm KO) but confidence is high within the Pools camp.

Cooper, though, is wary of the impressive Sky Blues, who started the season with minus 10 points but have since risen to 11th place after an impressive start to the season.

The 46-year-old says making it through to the third round would be a huge boost to the club, both in terms of progressing to the next round and bringing in vital revenue to boost Pools’ coffers.

Cooper, speaking at a blustery Maiden Castle said: “I’m trying to win, or be as productive, in as many matches as we possibly can be.

“Home has been very kind to us of late but I think Saturday is something slightly different and you can add a bit of added importance given the reward at the end of the tie.

“Coventry are not a club that are flushed with cash anymore. They will be wanting to get through to round three and pull something out of the hat, as are we.

“Any kind of run, in any kind of cup, gives us an extra bit of finance as a football club and helps our financial fair play situation.

l TURN to Page 46

“We will be as desperate to win, I will be desperate because we are at home and I will be desperate to have a really exciting cup tie in front of our home fans.

“The atmosphere that they are creating for us just at the moment will hopefully give us an opportunity to get over the line and into round three.”

The Clarence Road club reached the second round courtesy of a convincing 3-2 win over League One side Notts County and next up is the Sky Blues, who are managed by Steven Pressley.

Coventry, currently playing their home games at Northampton Town after they went into administration in March, started the season with minus 10 points but have since climbed to mid-table.

And Pressley’s side goes into the cup game in good form after beating MK Dons 3-1 away last weekend but Cooper says the incentives are there for both teams on Saturday.

Financial fair play regulations broadly limits spending on total player wages to a proportion of each club’s turnover and the threshold for League Two clubs is 55 per cent, therefore clubs rely on extra income through cup runs for example.

Cooper, the former Middlesbrough and England defender, added: “There is an incentive for both teams, both managers and both sets of supporters.

“In football today, finance dictates an awful lot and Coventry aren’t playing at their own ground so any kind of cup run they have, I’m sure Steve Pressley will be delighted with.

“We are the same. Under the financial fair play regulations if we can get through to round three it will only benefit us as a football club.

“I am conscious of that, but I just want the lads to go into the game feeling the way they have done, feeling confident and believing in what we are trying to do.

“There is that added spice of the FA Cup and don’t underestimate it because I still believe the FA Cup is full of wonder and joy.

“When we played against Notts County at home I was buzzing and I will be again on Saturday and I know the players will be as well.

“We look forward to the tie enormously and the reward is there for everyone to see.

“We want to get into the hat and see what Round Three can bring but we can only do that if we play to our very best.”