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League One

Embarrassed Cooper fears the axe

19 September 2012

Hartlepool boss Neale Cooper said he was ashamed of his players after a 5-0 thumping at Preston left him fearing for his job.

Cooper, who returned to Victoria Park last December, watched on in horror as Joel Byrom's first Preston goal sparked a rout which also saw Stuart Beavon and Jack King get on the scoresheet, while Scott Laird netted twice in four minutes in the closing stages.

The defeat leaves Pools just one place above the npower League One drop zone on goal difference having not won for three games and having picked up three points just once this season, with Cooper promising changes will be made.

"I'm really hurt. Those kind of results lose managers jobs," he said. "Whoever plays on Saturday, I don't care who is in that dressing room, not one of them had better come and complain to me about being left out. I'd rather put in a kid who stands up to people with a bit of fight.

"I can't be bothered speaking to the players and that's not like me. I'm so angry because I'm embarrassed. I've never had a team that just gives up and collapses like that. I'm embarrassed for the supporters, I'm sorry to the supporters.

"If there's one or two boys that don't want to play for me, because that's what it looks like - and I didn't see that on Saturday - they can come and knock on my door and they can disappear."

While Hartlepool are looking over their shoulders, Preston manager Graham Westley has his eyes firmly on promotion and after seeing his side shoot their way into the play-off places.

"We didn't play well on Saturday [against Crawley], there's no hiding from that, but the footballing ethos was there for everyone to see," he said.

"We were attacking the right way, and the balance of the play and the way they used the ball was first class. We have a next goal mentality. We want to keep scoring the next goal. Who knows how important goals scored could be at the end of the season?

"Just as I didn't get myself too downhearted on Saturday, I'm not going to get too carried away now. We played well and scored some good goals, but now have a tough trip to Walsall and we have to get ready for that."

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