Cooper tells Hartlepool United’s men to prove their worth

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NEALE Cooper has challenged some of his players to prove they are worth a place in his Hartlepool United squad – or risk being moved on, writes CRAIG HOPE.

The Scot is still hoping to bring one or two new faces to Victoria Park before the transfer window closes at the end of August.

But the Pools boss knows that will involve freeing up funds to allow for the extra outlay on wages.

And, ahead of tonight’s friendly with Almere City in Holland, Cooper declared: “It’s up to these boys to show me something. These next few weeks they have to prove to me that they’re good enough to be here and want to be here.

“It’s down to them now.”

Asked if one or two of his squad were still “on trial”, Cooper came back: “Big time. Those lads know it, they have to perform. I’ll give them that opportunity, but they have to take it.”

Cooper used a 4-4-2 system against Telstar in Sunday’s defeat, with James Poole and Jonathan Franks deployed in the wide positions.

“I thought they did OK,” he said when asked about the young widemen.

“They both had to put in a shift and maybe didn’t see as much of the ball as they’d like, but hopefully that will come.

“Those wide areas, like all positions, are still up for grabs really, but I definitely think those two lads have what it takes to play there.”

Pools are still waiting on news of Scott Flinders’ thigh strain ahead of the game and the keeper will not be risked should it fail to clear.

That would mean another 90 minutes for 16-year-old Dominic Scott.

Cooper, however, will look to bring in a new back-up goalkeeper when he returns to England this weekend.