COLIN Cooper hopes his Hartlepool United players return to work with a “World Cup buzz”, writes ROY KELLY.
The Pools squad, strengthened by the signings of Matthew Bates and Stuart Parnaby, are just 24 hours away from getting back on the training ground.
And Cooper believes the players will meet up with enthusiasm levels high – not just because there is a lEague Two promotion campaign to prepare for.
“I’ve watched some fantastic things at the World Cup,” Cooper said.
“I’ve watched some fantastic players in Brazil expressing themselves on the big stage.
“I’d like to think that with the World Cup going on that all footballers will come back to their clubs buzzing after what they have seen and look to recreate what they have seen.
“If someone wants to come back and be Neymar I’ll be quite happy!
“If someone wants to come back and wants to be one of the best central defenders in the world I’ll be happy!
“I’ve spoken to quite a few of the lads and they are all eager to get back.
“They have had their break, a good rest and I think any professional footballer, when you get to this stage of the summer, just wants to get back.
“Yes, you’ve had a nice holiday and the sun is still shining here, but people are starting it itch to get back to doing their jobs again.
“I’m thoroughly looking forward to seeing everyone come back tomorrow.”
Unlike 12 months ago, when pre-season had already been mapped out before Cooper and his then assistant, Craig Hignett, had been installed, now the Pools boss has his programme in place.
That starts with four days at Maiden Castle in Durham and then a week in Spain and, thus far, a five-game friendly programme with hopes of another being added on the first weekend in August.
“Hopefully, over the first couple of weeks, we’ll have a real chance to put some work into them,” said the 47-year-old.
“On the back of that, we’ll progress into the games and get to August 9 to see where we are.”
Meanwhile, Pools supporters have just a week left to purchase early bird season tickets.
Fans have until next Tuesday to pick up the lowest prices – adult tickets costing £180, senior citizens/students £140, Under-19s £90 and Under-13s £55.