I’ll do it my way at Hartle

Colin Cooper
Colin Cooper

COLIN Cooper will continue to do things his way as Hartlepool United boss.

Cooper plans to send out his team tomorrow against Cheltenham Town at Victoria Park with his usual instructions (kick-off 3pm).

The orders will involve being tight and disciplined but, primarily, to play football.

Pools found themselves muscled out of Tuesday night’s match with Mansfield town, though the 4-2 defeat had as much to do with the injury disruptions in every part of the side than the threat caused by the more direct approach of the Stags.

But Cooper told SportMail he wants to send out a team who will entertain the Vic faithful.

“I can’t and I won’t do it the Mansfield way,” said the 47-year-old.

“That’s no disrespect to Paul Cox or to Mansfield Town.

“I shook Paul by the hand and said ‘well done, you turned us over’.

“Nobody is perfect, look at some of the teams in the Premier and Championship and everyone suffers sometimes from inconsistency or a bit of naivety.

“But I want the young players here to keep believing in what we’re trying to do.

“I have my way of doing it - some people may think I am naive or stubborn but it’s my belief.

“I will stick to the beliefs and I will give our players the confidence and freedom to keep trying to do what they

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are doing.

“I want them to keep trying to play good football and get the results on the back of that.

“We’ve had a lot more good than bad doing it that way.

“There are some cracking young men in that dressing room - and cracking older men too.

“If we fall a bit short my job is to make sure we are bigger and stronger for next year.

“If we don’t fall short and we get into the mix then what an end to the season.”

Cooper insists the season is not over.

A look at the Sky Bet League Two table would suggest otherwise - Pools are nine points outside the top seven with only 21 points still left on offer.

Even if the fat play-off lady has not yet started to sing, she has certainly begun to clear her throat.

But Cooper will not dismiss their hopes with three points from a home match against the Robins to play for.

More pressing for Pools will be gather as many wins and points from the last seven matches to finish the season on a high.

“Tuesday was the first time anyone has put four goals past us this season, and the goals weren’t very good from our point of view,” Cooper explained.

“We just have to make sure for the last seven games that doesn’t happen again.

“That’s been my message for this week and moving forward.

“I want us to be as stubborn and tough as we have been and if we are then we’ll have more positive results than negative.

“Where it takes us we can only wait and see.

“If we fall a little bit short it won’t be for the want of trying.”

Cheltenham arrive at the Vic in similar form.

Like Pools, they too have won twice in March but their points haul is slightly better, nine out of a possible 21, compared to seven by Cooper’s side.

Mark Yeates’ side currently lie three places below Pools yet the gap is only one point but they will need a win to leapfrog their hosts.