HARTLEPOOL United have shaken off their hangover and are back on the March.
Pools boss Colin Cooper was thrilled with the reaction of his players to the poor defeat at Northampton when they beat the Football league’s basement boys Torquay United on Saturday.
The manager admitted it wasn’t an easy task lifting his troops after the 2-0 defeat at Sixfields.
But on the flip side of the coin, he now hopes preparing for Saturday’s visit to another Sky Bet League Two struggler, Wycombe Wanderers, should be an easier proposition.
“I think there was a bit of a hangover all week,” Cooper told SportMail.
“It was a difficult week.
“The Northampton game wasn’t great and it was difficult on the training ground because the boys are so desperate to do well.
“But we were all flat after last Saturday.
“Bear in mind what had happened previously in February they shouldn’t have been.
“But we were flat because we’d let ourselves down last week.
“February ended on a bad note and we wanted March to start on a high.
“We got the response we wanted and now we have to be upbeat.
“March is going to be a key month with so many games, five against teams in and around the bottom six.
“It was disappointing last week but excellent on Saturday.
“We will go to Wycombe to try and recreate this.
“If we can keep the ball out of our 18-yard box and defend it well then we will win more than we don’t because we create chances in every game.
“If they get through, Scott is there to makes saves when he needs to, as he did on Saturday.”
Cooper was fully focusing on this weekend’s match and not making any comment about the assistant manager’s situation, following Craig Hignett’s move on Monday to become Aitor Karanka’s Number 2.
On Saturday, Marlon Harewood hogged the headlines after his first goal in Pools colours.
But one of the bright spots about the 3-0 win over the Gulls was the display of Brad Walker.
After his stunning goal at Southend, Walker looked off-colour four days later at Northampton.
He was not alone for being below par at Sixfields but he looked the part again against Torquay and was named man of the match by Pools legend Brian Honour.
Cooper revealed Walker was troubled by a calf problem, but with physio Ian Gallagher using his healing hands this week, the Billingham teenager should be fit for the trip to Adams Park.
“He belied his age with his calmness and composure,” said Cooper.
“The only reason we brought him off was because he’s felt his calf and he didn’t want to come off.”