English League 1

Cooper looking for local help

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Sat, 25 May 2013 16:29:00

The spotlight will continue to shine on Jose Mourinho when Real Madrid travel to Real Sociedad for the penultimate round of the Primera Division season.

Speculation remains rife over the future of the Portuguese coach after it was confirmed by Madrid president Florentino Perez at the start of the week they will have a new man at the helm next season.

Chelsea remains the most likely destination for Mourinho, the club where he won back-to-back league titles during a previous three-year spell.

But with no further word forthcoming from either the coach or his current employers following the announcement of his impending departure, there is little for the media to feed off over where Mourinho is heading and who will replace him at the Bernabeu.

Paris St Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti is the leading contender to take charge at Madrid but the club must first complete this season, with two matches remaining and little to play for but pride.

Madrid have already the lost the title to Barcelona while they cannot be caught in second place, but will at least travel to Sociedad defending a 10-match unbeaten run.

However, the season is still very much alive for tomorrow's opponents, who are battling it out with Valencia for the fourth and final Champions League spot.

It has also been a week of change for Sociedad, with their coach Philippe Montanier confirming he will leave the club at the end of the campaign after turning down the offer of a new contract.

Unlike Mourinho, the 48-year-old Frenchman was happy to face the press before the match.

And although he refused to discuss his future plans, he is certain Madrid will not drop their guard simply because they have nothing left to play for.

"The desire is to get the three points," he said.

"Real Madrid are one of the best teams in the world, with some of the best players, so it will be difficult, but we know we can do it.

"The fact they are playing without pressure makes things a little worse, though, because Madrid players are very professional.

"For them to be playing with no pressure could be a dangerous problem for us because they will play at a higher level, and that could be more of an inconvenience than an advantage.

"I just hope the fans will be a great support and a great help, as in recent games. That will be of paramount importance for us. It is true we can achieve great success against Real Madrid, but only with the support of all our fans."

Montanier has doubts over the fitness of Dani Estrada (knee) but Asier Illarramendi has been passed fit.

For Madrid, Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos will all miss the match.

Cooper, 46, was confirmed as Pools' new manager on Friday, replacing John Hughes, and he has already identified potential signings.

He is keen to forge strong links with his former club Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Newcastle and told PoolsPlayer: "Between myself and Craig (Hignett) we have covered three-quarters of the Football League and Premier League.

"People are already phoning us asking what can they do to help - those connections will be vital. The additions we want to make will help to bring a freshness.

"Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Sunderland will be doing all they can to help us. Those conversations have already been had.

"We are going to need that help from the north east's big clubs."

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