Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We've Got over the Malaise - Cooper

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We've Got over the Malaise - Cooper

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

NEALE Cooper thinks Hartlepool United have escaped from the "tragic" rut they were trapped in last season, writes STUART RAYNER.

Hartlepool lost 11 of 23 home games last season, a major factor in the problems which saw the Scot brought in to replace Mick Wadsworth last term.

But now Cooper thinks his side can go into today's game with Carlisle United confident their psychological problems at Victoria Park are behind them. This season their record on Teesside is won one, drawn one.

"It was tragic last year and once you get in that rut it's very difficult to get out," Cooper admitted.

"Eventually we did and hopefully we can keep winning our home games and at least not lose them.

"We've not conceded at home in two league games and got on the scoresheet. Hopefully the boys can take some confidence from that."

They may also be able to take comfort from the fact their best home performance last season was against Carlisle - the nearest Hartlepool have to derby rivals in League One. "This will be a tough test for us and hopefully a full house," said Cooper. "Last year Carlisle had come into it on the back of some really good form.

"They've got a good manager in Greg (Abbott) with a really good squad, but we played extremely well.

"We know it will be a really tough game but one we'll go out there to win."

Cooper's confidence has been lifted by last week's 2-0 win over Scunthorpe United, courtesy of goals from summer signing Jonathan Franks and youngster Luke James.

"It's been a really good week - I think winning last week was a huge confidence boost for us," said Cooper. "I was really pleased with the win but I told them I still think there is a lot more to come from them.

"They've looked sharp and upbeat during training so hopefully they can go out and put on a really good performance. …

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