Cooper fears fatigue in Hartlepool United’s stunning run

Colin Cooper
Colin Cooper
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COLIN Cooper does not like hearing the F-word at Hartlepool United.

But the Pools boss acknowledges that fatigue is a factor he must manage as his team looks to continue their brilliant SkyBet League Two run at Scunthorpe tomorrow.

Red-hot Pools have raced through October in breathtaking fashion – four League Two wins and a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy upset at Sheffield United – to climb them from the relegation zone to 14th place, and they could leap into the top half tomorrow.

It’s been a busy schedule, with five games in just 18 days, and travelled 1,160 miles to Mansfield, Sheffield and Exeter.

While tomorrow’s visit to Glanford Park is hardly a trek to Timbuktu, it could be a trip too far after the rigours of recent weeks.

Cooper admits fatigue could be an enemy of Pools and has already taken steps to counter that – but added that the players are still raring to go.

“Unless they come to us and say ‘I’m physically shattered’, I think the players will want to play,” Cooper said.

“If I was playing in this team at the moment, I would not want a rest. I’d want to keep rolling.

“My body might decide, at some point, that I need a rest. But we’ll assess the lads before tomorrow’s game and hopefully we’ll have a clean bill of health.

“Fatigue could be a factor. We do ask the boys to be honest. We don’t have access to heart-rate or GPS monitors that clubs in the top echelons do.

“When I was at Middlesbrough, I was able to get real data, day in, day out.

“The lads here are pushing hard for us, so we have to decide how we recover between games. We must be careful we don’t blow lads out.

“Our job is to make sure we give them enough recovery time between the matches in order for them to be able to go hard and perform at a high level.”

Pools’ back four and midfielder Simon Walton have played pretty much every minute of every game, though Cooper will be reluctant to break up that unit or leave out the influential Walton.

But he has Jordan Richards, Brad Walker and skipper Antony Sweeney fit and champing at the bit if he sees the need to freshen up his side.

Cooper is likely to send out the same XI which started Tuesday night’s win over AFC Wimbledon, which means Jon Franks continuing for the suspended Jack Compton.