"People are starting to step up and show what they're about" - Cooper pleased with Town's progress ahead of televised clash with York City

Assistant manager Andy Cooper says The Shaymen are starting to show what they're about as they go in search of their fifth straight league win at York on Saturday.
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Town moved up to sixth in the National League after Tuesday's 2-1 home win over Hartlepool United.

Halifax produced some of their best football of the season in Tuesday's victory, and Cooper says he can sense more confidence among the players thanks to their winning run.

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"I think people are starting to step up and show what they're about," he said.

Chris Millington and Andy CooperChris Millington and Andy Cooper
Chris Millington and Andy Cooper

"You can see it in the dressing room, but there's an expectation from us now that we can do even better, we can back performances up and go again, and that's what we need to do.

"But for sure, winning breeds confidence in players.

"And I thought we looked confident at times on Tuesday in possession, there were moments where we could have hurt them even more and scored more than we did.

"But there was definitely more confidence on the ball than I've seen in recent games, and that was backed up with a performance and the result."

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If Town win on Saturday, they'll equal their best run of form since March last year.

"The biggest pleasing aspect for momentum is the performances and the development of the players," Cooper said.

"So the established players, who've been here years, so Sam Johnson with his performances and his leadership, and how he's commanded and led the group in his way.

"Some of the young lads have kicked on and are performing really well, developing and really becoming fans' favourites.

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"The lads who are in their second year here have kicked on to greater heights and are really a bedrock of what we're trying to do.

"And you've got the future of the club on the bench.

"So the pleasing aspect of getting momentum is that it's with development of players as well.

"We're getting victories, not always with the best performances, like Saturday, but we got the performance against Hartlepool. We dug in when we needed to at the end, which is only natural that you're potentially going to suffer when there's only one goal in it.

"But the lads are getting better, and the challenge now for us as staff is to make sure we keep the standards and the levels high and that we're fully prepped and focused to go to York with the same mindset because we're desperate to do well, we're desperate to continue the run into the play-offs.

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"Getting that fifth win in a row would be a really good achievement going into a slight break before we then regroup and go again for the next period of busy fixtures."

Asked if he felt there was more to come from the Town side, Cooper said: "I think it's the consistency of performance, so can we back up the same level of intensity and when we've got the ball, the sharpness of the passing, the movement, the attacking threat we've got.

"(If so) Then we've got a chance of keeping progressing up the table, no doubt about it.

"But it's got to start with not getting too carried away, the same preparation we've had on this run and making sure we execute a game-plan that can get us three points with hopefully a performance that matches that."

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On whether he felt Town's upturn in form had helped answered some of their critics, Cooper said: "I think there's always going to be critics.

"What we have to do is keep everything in house and keep everything between the walls of the training ground and the stadium, and try to not let it affect us too much in games, and try to transfer the energy from the players to keep the performances and the results because, ultimately, the supporters pay to come and watch and they're entitled to an opinion on the game.

"But in the league, when you have a four-game winning streak, it is a really good achievement and it is a good platform to build on to go into this last game (before the two-week break).

"Getting the supporters behind us is vital to success and we need them again on Saturday, as we've had the support away all season."

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York are just outside the relegation zone, having had a mixed run of results under new manager Neal Ardley.

"We've got massive respect for his teams, we know the task he's got at York and the development they're making," Cooper said.

"We know how he sets up and approaches games and we know he's very well organised, especially without the ball.

"For us I think it'll be more of the same, making sure we rest and recover well but try and build the momentum that's been built at home on top of the away form and produce a performance that looks like us away from home, which is full of energy, really well organised and committed to a game-plan to go and get three points.

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"I see no reason why, with momentum behind us, why we can't look at York as an opportunity to keep building on previous results and especially the performance on Tuesday, and go again and back it up.

"We know there's a break in the league fixtures after this game so it's one big push to get through it for the lads who are carrying knocks and niggles and for us to get our prep right.

"They'll be wounded after their result on Tuesday and they'll be at us early and up against us with that organisation we've seen from Neal's previous teams.

"I'm sure there'll be a big following and it's a televised game as well so we'll relish the opportunity to put a performance in in-front of the fans and continue that great away form we've had that's now included back-to-back home wins."