Hartlepool United boss Colin Cooper wants action replay at Sheffield United

A HAPPY ENDING: Steve Howard and John Hughes shake hands at the end of the 3-2 win over Sheffield United. Picture by FRANK REID
A HAPPY ENDING: Steve Howard and John Hughes shake hands at the end of the 3-2 win over Sheffield United. Picture by FRANK REID
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COLIN Cooper may not have been there at the time – but he’s looking for an action replay of one of Hartlepool United’s great wins.

Cooper tonight takes Pools to Sheffield United in the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

The Pools boss loves Bramall Lane as a venue and also loves the fact that his club have similatr happy memories of one of English football’s oldest and atmospheric grounds.

Much has happened in the 283 days since Pools upset the League One formbook by overturning odds of 20-1 to win 3-2 at then leaders Sheffield United.

Danny Wilson’s side were outplayed and outbattled by the bottom club in the best day of the reign of John Hughes.

The Blades faltered in their promotion hopes while Pools failed to stay up.

Both clubs ditched their bosses and now Cooper is looking forward to the “challenge” of trying to upset the odds again.

The red and white half of the Steel City is far from a buoyant place – United have lost seven of their 10 games and are in a relegation spot.

Cooper points out that for all their woes – they have won just twice in all competitions – they are a league above Pools and he rates boss David Weir.

“Sheffield United are a divison up, like Bradford in the last round,” said the 46-year-old.

“It’s a challenge and an exciting one.

“I loved, as a player, playing at Bramall Lane.

“They have very passionate fans.

“I’m not sure the club will be feeling great about themselves right now, but I know David Weir and his philosophies and he is a winner.

“He knows and believes in what he is doing and it’s about finding the formula to push on.

“It’s a massive club and a great challenge.

“Last season, Hartlepool went there and won – probably the result of the season.

“To go there now is still difficult, but we go there confident.”

Confident with a capital C, that is Pools at the moment.

The first round JPT 5-0 win over Bradford City has signalled a change in fortunes.

It hasn’t been all plain sailing as a 40odd-minute spell against Oxford showed, but Pools have won three and drawn one of their last six games and scored 15 times.

And Cooper reminds his players that success starts from the back.

He said: “Be compact, disciplined and organised and then have something to hopefully continue in the competition like we did against Bradford.”