Neale Cooper: Our season starts now

Neale Cooper looks on from the dugout as Pools draw 0-0 in the opening day fixture with Swindon Town
Neale Cooper looks on from the dugout as Pools draw 0-0 in the opening day fixture with Swindon Town

OUR season starts now.

That was the message from Neale Cooper today as he praised his players for their response to the League Cup humiliation at Crewe Alexandra.

Pools kicked off their League One campaign on Saturday with a deserved point against promotion-fancied Swindon Town, seven days after the 5-0 drubbing at Gresty Road.

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Cooper had demanded better from his side going into the weekend curtain-raiser, and the Scot believes the character his men demonstrated can form the launch-pad for their season.

“This now gives us a very good platform going forward,” he said, in light of the goalless draw in which former Poolie Tommy Miller missed a second-half penalty for The Robins.

“It was a good response to last week and that’s what I was looking for.

“They all know how I felt about what happened at Crewe because it was completely unacceptable.

“I didn’t say much prior to the game because I didn’t have to.

“We let everyone down last week at Crewe and there was only one way to rectify it, and I think we did.

“I wanted a major reaction and I got it in a good performance which people will have enjoyed – even if it was a bit nerve-wracking for everyone in the second half.”

Pools now travel to Notts County tomorrow night before another away day at Leyton Orient this coming weekend.

But Cooper believes it is his side’s home form which will determine their success this year.

“I said to the players when I had a chat with them during the warm-up - we have to make our place a fortress, not like last season,” said the boss.

“Teams have to be scared to come here and not look forward to it, and they responded to that on Saturday.

“Last season at home wasn’t good enough, we didn’t create enough chances.

“Even though we didn’t score on Saturday we had a lot of good openings.

“We’ve hit the post and gone close a few tines, which was encouraging.

“We have two tough away games to come this week but Saturday sets us up nicely and has drawn a line under what happened last weekend.”