Hartlepool United boss asks players for even more

Andy Monkhouse celebrates his goal against Mansfield Town. Picture by FRANK REID
Andy Monkhouse celebrates his goal against Mansfield Town. Picture by FRANK REID

COLIN Cooper says he cannot ask any more from his Hartlepool United players at the moment – but that isn’t going to stop him trying.

Pools are unbeaten in three games following impressive away wins at Mansfield Town, Sheffield United and Exeter City.

Confidence is high in the camp and Cooper admitted being “chuffed” with his players over the past three matches but has called on them to give even more.

Cooper said his League Two side have had a tough start to the season and is wary about raising expectations, despite three away wins on the bounce.

But he believes the Pools squad is capable of getting better.

He highlighted Andy Monkhouse’s recent strike in the 4-1 demolition of Mansfield Town as an example of that hard work paying off.

Cooper, speaking ahead of Saturday’s home match against Plymouth Argyle, said: “You have to guard against saying silly things and I’m not going to because we have had a really tough start to the season.

“All I would say is if the players continue to put that work ethic in, if they continue to keep listening and wanting to learn and we try and give them as much feedback as we can, both visual and verbal.

“I showed something to Andy Monkhouse before his goal against Mansfield and you wouldn’t believe the response it got from the rest of the lads.

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“It is exactly what we have been talking about since we walked through the door.

“How he gets the ball, how he receives it, what he does when he receives it and my goodness what a strike at Mansfield.

“I think everyone is capable of learning and getting better and at the moment they can’t give us anymore but we will ask for more.”

At Exeter on Saturday, Luke James showed great bravery to delicately lob the keeper to score before being clattered by Artur Krysiak in the home goal.

And Cooper said he is continually pushing home the message about being brave, both physically and mentally.

Cooper said: “If you want to be a striker that scores goals you have to get yourself into places where occasionally you are going to get hurt.

“Turning it round on its head, your defenders and midfielders have to put their bodies on the line to try to keep the ball out of our goal.

“There is all kinds of bravery and I keep talking to the players about bravery.

“There is physical bravery, which I think everyone is showing, and mental bravery, which is coming bit by bit.”