HARTLEPOOL United boss Colin Cooper will not entertain any notion that tomorrow’s League Two trip to Plymouth Argyle is a ‘“nothing game”.
On the face of it, little is riding on the outcome – Pools are safe after the heroics of Easter Monday while the Pilgrims are out of the play-off picture.
Cooper, though, says it is up to him and the players to “try to recreate” that brilliant win over Morecambe.
There will be something of a carnival atmosphere at Home Park – especially in the away enclosure where there will be upwards of 100 fans in Thunderbirds fancy dress.
The Pools boss does not need to ring International Rescue but he is keen to give them – and all supporters – a day to remember.
“Our job is now to try to get as many points as we can and finish as high as we can,” said Cooper.
“I am looking forward to seeing our following at Plymouth in their Thunderbirds outfits.
“Out of respect to them, and all our fans, we’ve got to turn up at Plymouth and put in a decent away performance.
“It’s up to us to try to recreate what happened on Monday against Morecambe tomorrow.
“For me and every professional footballer that crosses the white line, there’s something riding on every match.
“Granted, you can be a little bit more relaxed and have more freedom to express yourself on the ball.
“But you still have to do all the right things, be disciplined and compact.
“I would argue against anyone who says people don’t put the same effort into a game because there is supposedly nothing riding on it,
“There is a lot of professional pride for one thing.
“All Monday did was take away people’s fears.
“I didn’t have those fears, or any negative vibes that others wanted me to have. I always thought we would be all right.
“But I’m pleased for everyone that it’s been taken away, but I look at it and ask why can’t we go to Plymouth and give our fans another day like Morecambe?
“And then do the same again against Exeter next Saturday at the Vic?
“I’ve often talked about my desire to send them home happy on a Saturday night, or Monday as it was this week,
“It would be great to now send them away for the summer believing there is something there.
“We have had a lot of nice pats on the back all season for the way we have played.
We spoke about the extra fans who came on Monday to entice them back regularly and let’s give them a team to enjoy watching.
“I know we need better results next year and that’s the challenge.”
Cooper dismissed the idea that his squad may need lifting again for a clash with the Pilgrims.
Monday’s win proved a physically and emotionally-draining occasion as 10-man Pools battled back from a goal and a man down to beat the Shrimps 2-1 thanks to late goals from supersubs Jack Compton and Jack Barmby.
But Cooper is demanding another big effort and a professional attitude.
“It’s not about raising them,” he said.
“We had lost six on the bounce and we were playing in front of our own fans and were one-down after 20 minutes.
“The response was fantastic and, whatever level you play at, wherever you play, those days are good.
“It’s not going to be like that every week, but we have to try to recreate it.
“You can’t say ‘I did well last week, so I get Saturday off’.
“That’s not professional, look the word up in the dictionary and professional isn’t about having one day on, one off.”