Cooper tells Hartlepool United to relish big cup challenge at Forest

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BOSS Colin Cooper expects his Hartlepool United players to embrace the chance to cause a Capital One Cup upset at Nottingham Forest tonight, writes CRAIG HOPE.

Pools lost 3-0 at Rochdale in Cooper’s first competitive match in charge last weekend, and are massive underdogs for their first round City Ground clash against a Forest side fresh from beating Huddersfield in the Championship.

“Football is an unbelievable sport – you feel rotten but get an immediate chance to turn things around,” said Cooper, who had a successful stint at Forest in his playing days.

“And what a great challenge it is for us.

“Nottingham Forest will be looking to push towards the Premier League, so it’s a huge test.

“It’s an even bigger test after the kick up the backside we got on Saturday.

“We’ve got to go to a top-end Championship side and react to that.

“As a player. I would love that.”

Cooper made more than 200 appearances for Forest from 1993-98 and is sure to be afforded a good reception by the home support this evening.

“I had five fantastic years at Forest,” he reflected.

“I achieved a lot there and enjoyed it thoroughly.

“I go there with excitement and enthusiasm but with a big task on our hands.

“We’ll enjoy it though and go there aiming to make it through to the next round.”

Meanwhile, Pools have conceded penalties in their last three matches, including the final two pre-season games.

Cooper admits it is an area of concern. “It’s something we’ve talked about as I understand a lot of penalties were conceded last season as well,” he said.

“When the ball comes in your box, you have to be in a good position.

“If you’re not then you don’t go to ground and give people an opportunity to fall over.

“It’s about learning lessons.”

Forest are likely to make several changes, with Darius Henderson, ex-Middlesbrough striker Ishmael Miller and Jamie Patterson set for starts after making substitute appearances at the weekend.