Flinders hails safe Pear of hands!

Hartlepool United goalkeeping coach Stephen Pears. Picture by Frank Reid

Hartlepool United goalkeeping coach Stephen Pears. Picture by Frank Reid

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CONFIDENT Hartlepool United number one Scott Flinders has hailed the impact of new goalkeeping coach Stephen Pears and is convinced the “teacher” will improve his game no end.

Ex-Middlesbrough keeper Pears joined the Victoria Park club during the summer as the goalie coach and new assistant manager to Colin Cooper.

And his arrival has been keenly felt already by Flinders and second-choice keeper Andy Rafferty – who are being put through their paces ahead of the new campaign at the club’s Maiden Castle training ground.

Rotherham-born Flinders has heaped praise on Pears, who had been strongly linked with the assistant manager’s job ever since Craig Hignett left in March.

The 28-year-old describes Pears, a coach of 16 years, as a “teacher” and says him and Rafferty are being pushed daily to improve their individual games.

Flinders said: “I can tell you now, he will improve my game so much.

“Pearsy’s record speaks for itself at Middlesbrough and the goalkeepers he brought through at the club.

“As goalkeepers, we have been taken out of our comfort zone and he wants to improve us every day and I think he will improve not only the keepers, but everyone in the football club.

“I am thoroughly enjoying working with him and he is the sort of character that I need to push my game on.

“He is a teacher and wants to improve our game all of the time.

“Not only me, but all of the goalkeepers, and you are learning something new every day.

“It has been going really well.”

Pears left Boro in November after Aitor Karanka reshuffled his coaching staff and has previously said that he didn’t hesitate when Cooper offered him the chance to get back into the game he loves.

The 52-year-old joined Pools on their pre-season training camp in southern Spain at the start of July and Flinders says the goalkeepers at the club have been reaping the rewards ever since.

He added: “It is always a close unit when it comes to goalkeepers, it has to be because you spend so much time with each other.

“The best week was when Pearsy came to Spain because we had the chance to spend a lot of time with him.

“We know how he works – he works at a high tempo and we are at it every day and if not then he is cracking down on us.”