SAM Collins admits Hartlepool United’s players have a point to prove to manager Neale Cooper.
The Scot publicly slammed his side following their 5-0 drubbing at Preston North End seven days ago and many wondered what effect it would have on the squad.
Skipper Collins, however, has welcomed Cooper’s passionate reaction to Pools’ current situation.
They are just one place above the League One drop zone following a run of four without victory, with a trip to basement boys Colchester United next up on Saturday.
Collins, pictured, insists he and his team-mates have to react to their boss’s words.
“You always have a point to prove,” the 35-year-old said. “We all needed to react (after Preston), me as well. I was disappointed personally and wanted to do a lot better.
“It hurts games like that, and when you are questioned by your manager it hurts.
“A lot of us have been doing this for a long time and we are honest lads. None of us are trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes – we’re an honest bunch.
“We know when we have done well and know when we haven’t.
“The gaffer comes in and says what he does because he’s honest. If he’s got something to tell you, he will tell you, and we have to react to it.”
Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Shrewsbury Town, in which Andy Monkhouse rescued a 90th-minute point, kept Pools out of the relegation zone.
It capped the end of an emotional week for Cooper, who, on the eve of the game, had demanded a response to recent woes.
And Collins went on: “The gaffer is an emotional guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. If he could put his boots on with his suit then he would want to be out there and playing.
“All managers are different. Some are reserved and take things in quietly. But you can see how he is – he’s a very passionate guy.”