Axe falls on Hartlepool United pair

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EXPERIENCED duo Andy Monkhouse and Simon Walton have been released by Hartlepool United as boss Colin Cooper looks to rebuild his squad.

The pair have more than 750 career appearances between them but were last night deemed surplus to requirements at Victoria Park for next season’s assault on Sky Bet League Two.

Pools released four players, with striker Zak Boagey and midfielder Greg Rutherford, both 19, the others to be shown the exit door.

Cooper’s side finished 19th this season and while Monkhouse and Walton’s experience in a young side was invaluable at times, they have become the biggest casualties of the 2013-14 campaign.

Cooper had stressed it will be a case of “evolution, rather than revolution” while he was in charge and that stance has been reflected with just two first team regulars axed.

Boagey didn’t appear for Pools this term, while Rutherford made one sub appearance.

Monkhouse, 33, and 26-year-old Walton had played more than 40 matches this season and may well have expected to have done enough to earn a new deal.

Yet Cooper has moved to get the high earners off the wage bill as he looks to re-mould his first team.

On-loan Manchester United stars Jack Barmby, Middlesbrough’s Christian Burgess and Sunderland duo Scott Harrison and Connor Oliver have all returned to their respective clubs, which means Pools are now down to a first team squad of just 17 players.

That includes several yet to put pen to paper on new deals as talks with veteran defender Sam Collins, Neil Austin, forward James Poole and club captain Antony Sweeney remain ongoing.