Cooper urges Hartlepool to keep it going as Notts County tie starts busy week

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HARTLEPOOL United clinched double glory after Colin Cooper and Luke James won the Sky Bet League Two manager and player of the month awards.

But Cooper is now looking to see Pools carry on the brilliant form from October into this month and beyond – starting with tomorrow’s FA Cup first round tie at home to Notts County.

The Pools boss says he is thrilled that the monthly prizes are at Victoria Park, but he does not want his side to rest on their laurels and is determined they keep winning.

“I genuinely feel it’s a nice bit of recognition for myself, Craig, Luke, the players and staff for the hard work we all put in during October and before that,” said the 46-year-old.

“We got the rewards in October, but the hard work began on day one – it’s credit to the squad and the work rate they are putting in.

“For me and Craig, it’s a nice pat on the back that what we believe in worked in October.

“Hopefully, it will work in November, December and through until the end of the season.”

Tomorrow’s visit of newly-appointed Shaun Derry’s League One strugglers kicks off a tough sequence of three games in seven days, with Tuesday’s home Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie against Rotherham and a vital League Two trip to Newport next Friday.

“It is a very exciting week,” said Cooper.

“We’ve had a really good month in October and had a good start to November by beating Dagenham & Redbridge.

“We have two exciting cup ties coming up against teams from the league above us and then another long away trip, to Newport next Friday.”

First up though is the visit of the Magpies.

On paper, it has “cup upset” written all over it – Notts are bottom of League One without an away win all season while Pools have won six of their last seven matches.

But Cooper says that it would “naive” for Pools to think of themselves as favourites and believes Notts County will be “hard to beat” under new boss Derry and his assistant, former Carlisle chief Greg Abbott.

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” added Cooper.

“They are going through a rough time at the moment but they have a new manager and assistant in place.

“Shaun and Greg will have some different ideas and how many they get across by tomorrow, who knows.

“They will want to make sure they don’t lose.

“Are we favourites? Who knows, who cares? I’ve seen Notts County play and I know we are in for a tough game.

“We are naïve if we think we can just turn up and win.

“We have had some good results because of some proper hard work, good team shape and discipline and that’s going to have to continue.”