Hartlepool Utd players earn day off ahead of Exeter trip

Neale Cooper is itching to get playing against Bournemouth at the weekend.
Neale Cooper is itching to get playing against Bournemouth at the weekend.

HARTLEPOOL United’s players will be rewarded with a day off this week, writes CRAIG HOPE.

The squad were hauled into Maiden Castle last Tuesday in the wake of the defeat against Scunthorpe United, having originally thought they were not training.

But after they ended a run of nine straight home defeats courtesy of Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Rochdale, Cooper has kept to his promise of “earning days off”.

“The players were in on Monday for training and we will start early Tuesday, but have Wednesday off,” he explained, as preparations continued for Saturday’s trip to Exeter City.

“They said afterwards on Saturday ‘can we have Monday off now?’.

“I said no! But that’s just because of the way the week has worked out.”

Cooper was so angry following the 2-0 reverse to Scunthorpe – his first match back at Victoria Park – that he cancelled the planned day off in a bid to work on the problems behind the home form.

It was a ploy which worked and the boss admits he was pleased with the players’ response.

“They are an honest bunch and I put the question to them – ‘do you deserve a day off?’,” he said.

“The answer was no, although they said they wouldn’t have minded one!

“They didn’t come in and moan, they just came in to get the performance out of their system.

“You come in and get on with it and they were really good.”

He went on: “I keep telling my friends in Scotland they are a great bunch, but they need to be a winning bunch too.

“I thought they set a standard on Saturday in covering and fighting for each other.

“Throughout the team they were better to a man and there was a real determination there.

“You could see the spirit there from them all.”