BEAMING Hartlepool United manager Colin Cooper was delighted to start a “hell of a tough” week – with a convincing win over Notts County in the First Round of the FA Cup.
But there is no time to savour the 3-2 victory as Pools take on Rotherham United in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tomorrow night followed by an equally tough trip to Newport County in Sky Bet League Two on Friday.
Pools beat Notts County at Victoria Park thanks to goals from Jack Baldwin and a Luke James double to make it safely into the next round of the world famous cup competition.
Cooper, last week named Sky Bet League Two manager of the month, believed his team thoroughly deserved the win but has called for two more similar performances in the space of the next five days.
The 46-year-old, taking charge in an FA Cup match for the first time, said: “We won a game on Saturday which we thoroughly deserved to win but we have a hell of a tough game on Tuesday night in order to progress in the JPT, which would be lovely also.
“Then there is only a short time to recover before we have a very tough league game down at Newport, who have a fantastic home record.
“It is going to be a hell of a tough week but if we get through to the end of the week and we have picked up some positive results then I will be absolutely delighted.
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“We have a massive tick in the box after Saturday but we have two massive games to play on Tuesday and Friday.
“This week will stretch us to our limits physically and mentally and also the squad size really.
“We will see how we go but I have no doubt that the one thing I will ask the players and they will continue to do, is to give me everything they have got.
“If we fall short it won’t be for the want of trying.
“But we will be trying our very best to make sure that we get positive results in all three games and we got one in the bag on Saturday.”
County’s game plan was clear from the off and they showed their intent in the opening few minutes with three crunching tackles on Cooper’s men.
But Pools were more than a match and ended up winning more comfortably than the 3-2 score line would suggest, County scoring through a fortunate first-half Dean Leacock goal and a volley late on from substitute Ronan Murray.
Cooper enjoyed his first ever FA Cup match in the manager’s dugout and said the home tie had a “little bit of extra spice”.
Trimdon-born Cooper said: “I said to the players we have been on a cracking run recently but it just had a little bit of extra tingle for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.
“I thought my players stood up to their game plan and I thought we were the better team on the day by a long shot and in the end they had to resort to lumping the ball into our 18-yard box and hoping to get a lucky knock down.
“That is a real pat on the back and show of respect and shows what teams have to do to try and beat us at the moment.
“We weathered the storm and scored three smashing goals and I was really pleased with the player’s work rate, attitude and application, which is absolutely different class at the moment.”