sport

Pools boss eyes big improvement

Colin Cooper believes it is make-or-break for him as Hartlepool boss next season after a disappointing end to his first campaign.

Former Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest defender Cooper, 47, replaced John Hughes as boss following relegation in May, but Pools never seriously threatened to regain their League One status at the first attempt.

Pools lost seven and won only one of their last nine matches to finish a disappointing 19th in the table and Cooper admits a repeat showing next time round will cost him his job.

"I think it's fair to say that this football club has stalled for a number of seasons now and it's my job to try and stop that and find the answers," Cooper told the club's official website.

"Next season can't be like this season - either for the players or for me.

"I enjoy this job immensely, but if we finish 19th in League Two next season then I won't be here, I'm aware of that."

Cooper's side failed to end the season on a high after losing 2-0 to Exeter their final game of the season at Victoria Park.

"I've told the players this is the most important summer of their careers because I won't be accepting mediocrity or the kind of energy levels I got out there (against Exeter)," he added.