Cooper keen on Quakers
FORMER Peterborough United boss Mark Cooper believes he is the man to take Darlington forward, and is awaiting the call to become their next manager. He was interviewed for the post last week and is now hoping chairman Raj Singh offers him the vacancy at The Northern Echo Arena. Ex-Barnsley boss Simon Davey and former Grimsby manager Russell Slade remain under consideration as both have spoken to Quakers, while Mark Proctor is also in the running. Proctor is currently a youth coach with Middlesbrough, and was in for the Darlington job when Dave Penney left last year. Gary Johnson, however, appears in line to take charge at Peterborough after applying for the Quakers job. Cooper had an ill-fated spell at London Road earlier this season and is keen for a return to management with Darlington. They may be dropping into the Blue Square Premier but that holds no fears for Cooper who made his name at that level. I've spoken to Darlington and now I'm just waiting to hear what they want to do, said Cooper, who has also managed Tamworth and Kettering. I believe they are still in the process of appointing a manager and rightly so too, I don't have a problem with that. It's important they appoint the right man so the chairman has to be diligent. I expect the chairman will have spoken to others too. At Tamworth Cooper twice took the Lambs to the third round of the FA Cup but that success was not matched in the league and he left in 2007 with the club bottom of the Conference. Cooper went on to take Kettering to the Conference North title in 2008 and the following season he came to national prominence due to more FA Cup exploits. The Poppies' reached the fourth round where they lost to Fulham and an eighth-place finish in the same season led to the 41- year-old being offered Peterborough job in November. But he lasted only 76 days after falling out with the club's hierarchy and brushed off his short stay at London Road, saying: As a manager you had to have the tools to do the job and the fact that Peterborough are on to their third manager of the season tells its own story, as does the fact the third manager wants to leave. But Cooper, who dismissed speculation he would be unwilling to relocate from the Midlands, is keen to prove himself again and feels his knowledge of the Blue Square Premier would prove crucial to Quakers. He said: It's horses for courses isn't it. I think the chairman might be looking for someone who knows the lower leagues. I've seen it all before and I just want to get back in. I've been out of the game for a few months now. I'm ambitious and want to get back into management and want to get back to winning games which is what Darlington need to do. I know the division that they are likely to be playing next season, I know the players and I know what you have to do to succeed. I was at a part-time club in Tamworth and did well there and then at Kettering we would have got to the play-offs if we hadn't done well in the FA Cup. We got to the fourth round and that had an impact on league results. The day before meeting with Singh last week, Cooper saw Quakers in action during the home defeat to Aldershot, and he added: The first 20 minutes they did well but they looked like a team that was waiting to lose. They stepped it up on Saturday and got a great result at Shrewsbury so there's definitely some players there that can do a job. Darlington have announced that a matchday collection this month raised hundreds of pounds for charity. Quakers raised a total of £853.14 when they held a special Help for Heroes fixture for the visit of Torquay United at the beginning of March. Darlington held the day to commemorate the Armed Forces and to coincide with the Football League's Help for Heroes week.
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