Colin Cooper has told his Hartlepool United players they will need to be "mentally and physically" brave as they take on League Two’s form team Mansfield Town.
The Stags have made an instant impression in the fourth tier since promotion, with boss Paul Cox leading them to third in the early standings. Their style is uncomplicated and direct but Cooper admits that it is “effective”, and it is up to Hartlepool to combat it.
“Paul has done a fantastic job at Mansfield in leading them to third last week,” he said. “What we have to do is to stand up to any challenge that is in front of us. That means we have to be brave both physically and in terms of receiving the ball and trying to do what we have worked on all season. This is a game that will be a test for us but I am confident we can get something.”
Meanwhile, Cooper has revealed that he has had an apology for the poor decisions that scarred the 3-1 reverse against Oxford.
The Pool boss was disappointed at Steve Howard’s red card, Jack Compton’s caution for diving and the penalty decision that went against his team. Referee Jeremy Simpson has apologised for two of three decisions that Cooper took issue with.
“We asked for feedback and we have received an apology. It doesn’t change the result but they were key decisions and I still think Steve Howard’s red card was the wrong decision,” he said.
“I don’t like to criticise referees but I have asked for feedback on five of the nine games we’ve played so far.”