HARTLEPOOL United’s players have no time to rest as they look to make it back-to-back home wins tonight against AFC Wimbledon at Victoria Park.
Colin Cooper is urging his side to continue their impressive form into tonight’s League Two match and says they have to be ready to go again.
Pools have now won four on the trot in all competitions and on Saturday, Cooper’s 10-men showed great character and determination to beat Plymouth Argyle 1-0 thanks to a wonderful solo effort from 18-year-old Luke James, his sixth of the campaign.
And Cooper – who will be without left-winger Jack Compton after the club decided against appealing his red card on Saturday for a late challenge in the first half – is hoping for more of the same tonight.
Compton’s three-match suspension means the winger will miss matches against Wimbledon, Scunthorpe United away on Saturday and Dagenham & Redbridge at Victoria Park the following weekend.
Cooper didn’t let his players dwell on Saturday’s impressive win for too long and said attention soon turned to the game against AFC Wimbledon.
Cooper said: “We had the conversation in the dressing room and the mind has to focus. There is no time for rest.
“My advice to the players after the game was eat well, which we do provide, do your recovery in the dressing room in the cold bath what the medical staff have got for them, then make sure you get home and get rested.
“Just because we play our football in League Two doesn’t mean we do not have to be as professional as we can be. The recovery starts straight away.
“The lads buy into that and they like all that.”
Cooper praised his side for the mental bravery they showed in regrouping and working as a team against Plymouth after Compton’s red card and in particular, teenage starlet Luke James, who played the majority of the match up front by himself.
Former Middlesbrough defender Cooper – who said James’ performance was “nothing short of outstanding” – described his 55th minute goal as exceptional and said the coaching staff had been working on his finishing, in particular taking little steps before shooting.
Cooper said: “Luke generally takes long strides for a small lad and when he takes long strides he tends to be stretching for his finishes.
“So if he takes small steps, he doesn’t do that. I will be showing him that on the DVD.
“It was a fantastic low finish back across himself. The way he took the ball and took it to the opposition was excellent.”
Pools will tonight be looking to make it four straight league wins and five in total, including the recent Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win over Sheffield United.
Cooper has a fully-fit squad to choose from but Compton’s suspension could see Jonathan Franks drafted back into the side.