Cooper tells Hartlepool: You’ve got to keep fighting

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HARTLEPOOL United have played some stunning football over the last three games.

But Colin Cooper has pointed out the key quality he wants from his players tomorrow against Plymouth Argyle: “Work your backsides off”.

Following the hat-trick of amazing away successes at Mansfield. Sheffield United and Exeter, Pools go into the visit of the Pilgrims on cloud nine (kick-off 3pm).

They have inflicted spectacular bloody noses on both Mansfield and Exeter just days after the Stags and Grecian had registered famous wins.

But Cooper believes good old-fashioned hard graft will negate any ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ factor.

The Pools boss said: “From watching, reading and listening about Plymouth, they are feeling good about themselves.

“Tomorrow isn’t a case when you kind of think you can just roll up on the pitch and pick up a win.

“We have to continue to do the things which will give us the opportunity to win matches.

“That’s by working your backsides off first and foremost.

“We have to do that every game to have any chance of winning.

“To get the results we have away from home over the last three games we have worked incredibly hard over the course of the 90 minutes.”

Cooper expects Pools to have to graft for the spoils tomorrow.

Plymouth are hardly setting the world on fire - their away record matches the home tally of Pools of one win and four defeats.

John Sheridan’s team have only scored more than once in a match on the one occasion, their only away victory of the season, two months back at Cheltenham, where they triumphed 3-1.

Cooper, while not “fearful” is certainly respectful of the Pilgrims, who are one point and two places below his side in the table.

“I’m not fearful of them,” said the manager.

“Their coach has said their last two games have been good for them.

“Against Swindon, from the league above in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, they did themselves justice away from home, but unfortunately lost by the odd goal.

“Last weekend they dominated for half an hour, went in a goal up, but didn’t put the game out of sight and Portsmouth found a way back into the game.

“Probably over the course of the 90 minutes they were disappointed not to have won.”

Cooper is looking to Pools to get off to a strong start tomorrow.

While his side have won their last three games, scoring eight times and let in only one (a late penalty), they have almost conceded the first goal on each occasion.

“Mansfield hit the post after four minutes,” Cooper explained, “Sheffield United hit the bar after a minute,

“Exeter started better than us – maybe there’s something there for us to start better, but we have won each game comfortably.

“Give anyone a chink of light and they will grasp it and we have to avoid that.

“We need to get the message across that we cannot let things slip.

“If you think you have arrived after this last week, then you get a kick up the backside.

“That’s how football is, it has an uncanny knack of giving you a reality check.

“Be solid, organised and compact and it gives you the chance to do things that we know we can do.

“The foundations have to be in place first, that’s vital.

“If they aren’t there then you will fall down – your creative side doesn’t get chance to flourish as you will be on the back foot.

“As long as we all realise the foundations give us that platform then we will be OK.