Hartlepool Utd must cut out mistakes at Fleetwood Town

Colin Cooper on the sidelines during the game against Cheltenham Town. Picture by FRANK REID
Colin Cooper on the sidelines during the game against Cheltenham Town. Picture by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United must cut out the mistakes if they are to avoid a third successive Sky Bet League Two defeat.

After finishing 2013 on a high with a 2-1 win at Morecambe, Pools have begun the new year in a less than satisfactory fashion with back-to-back 3-0 home set-backs, to Bury and Rochdale.

But Cooper says the squad have watched a DVD of the Rochdale match and are ready to right the wrongs of that defeat.

“We have had two difficult results,” said the Pools boss.

“But I don’t need a pick up and I don’t think the players need a pick up.

“We sat, as we said we would, on Monday and put the DVD on and the reasons why we conceded the goals were blatant and obvious.

“Hopefully it will be put right at Fleetwood.

“Are we playing badly? Results make things seem worse.

“We battered Bury from pillar to post and lost 3-0, against Rochdale, one of the best footballing sides in the division, we had more possession, more shots, more territorial advabntage and lost 3-0.

“So there are reasons for it and, as I say, sometimes you have to look at yourself honestly and say ‘am I doing what I should be doing at this particular time?’.

“If you feel you are, then crack on and keep doing it.

“If you are not then change and do something different.”

A trip to Highbury is testing to say the least and possibly not the best place to go to on the back of conceding six goals in the last 180 minutes of football.

Fleetwood are the joint highest scorers in the division and no side has scored more at home.

This week they have signed midfielder Alex Marrow on loan from Blackburn Rovers for the rest of the season.

The 23-year-old became the Cod Army’s second signing of the transfer window after Mikael Mandron joined on loan from Sunderland, a player who had interested Pools.

“Fleetwood are, what I would consider, one of the few clubs in our division with financial clout,” Cooper said.

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“We played them here earlier in the season and Graham Alexander and his staff went away knowing it was a game they should not have won – they did win 1-0.

“They are strong and have the ability to nick 1-0 wins, like they did at our place and like they did last Saturday,.

“They have the ability to change the course of a game which is may be not going in their favour, thanks to that strength in depth.

“They have a depth of quality.

“I keep saying we are more of a match for anybody in this league.

“But if we continue to make mistakes, Fleetwood will definitely pick up on that and punish us.

“We have to be focused and ready, but we also have to have the belief and bravery to play how we want to play.”

With new signing Marlon Harewood in contention to play tomorrow, Cooper must decide whether to start with the powerful forward or use him as an impact sub.

The chances are Harewood will start up front with Luke James, and Jack Compton could return to the starting XI at the expense of Jonathan Franks.

Pools (probable): Flinders, Richards, Baldwin, Burgess, Austin (capt), Compton, Walton, Walker, Monkhouse, James, Harewood. Subs: Rafferty, Holden, Collins, Hawkins, Franks Poole, Rodney

reserves last month before being released by new Robins boss Steve Cotterill.

Cooper feels people should not read too much into his stay at Ashton Gate, when he scored once in 17 appearance.

The Pools manager feels Harewood will have something of a point to prove after his stay there.

“The frustration at Bristol City is that Marlon felt he was doing the job asked of him by Sean O’Driscoll as an older player, as a mentor to the younger players,” he said.

“But he still felt he was better than those players and thought he should have been playing.”

Perhaps, unlike O’Driscoll, Cooper believes Harewood will deliver on and off the field.

“I believe we need a figurehead,” said Cooper who believes Harewood will inject some freshness into his squad.

“Marlon has come in with a completely clean outlook.

“He’s enjoyed the atmosphere, he thinks we are a good club and have a good bunch of young players – he’s looking forward to being a part of that and having an impact.

“The important thing to me is not just what he can give us helping young strikers, it’s what he can actually give us on the field.

“Yes, he can help the young players and the team in general.

“For Luke James, James Poole, Jonathan Franks, Nialle Rodney and any player in a forward position, they should have respect for Marlon for the career he’s had.

“What he has to show is that his career’s not finished and that he’s not just here to wind down.

“Marlon has to show he’s here and raring to go.

“I know there were other opportunities out there for him and I’m delighted that he chose to come here.

“I know he’ll be a positive role model for the younger players and have a positive impact on the pitch.”