Former Sunderland star back at Hartlepool

Tommy Miller
Tommy Miller
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COLIN Cooper strengthened his Hartlepool United squad with the arrival of four new signings ahead of today’s season opener at Stevenage.

Midfielders Tommy Miller and Michael Woods signed permanent deals as expected following a successful few weeks on trial.

But Cooper has also brought in Boro winger Ryan Brobbel on a month-long loan deal and Sunderland keeper Joel Dixon on an emergency loan deal to cover for Andy Rafferty, who picked up an injury in training.

Pools supporters have faced an anxious wait this summer for the club to strengthen following the departures of James Poole, Antony Sweeney, Simon Walton and Andy Monkhouse.

But the four new faces will now join fellow summer signings Matthew Bates and Stuart Parnaby - who signed six weeks ago - in the squad for today’s Sky Bet League Two match at Stevenage.

The signings of Miller and Woods, 24, were expected. Former Black Cat Miller was released by Bury in the summer and has since featured in several pre-season fixtures.

The 35-year-old, who left Pools for Ipswich in 2001 for a fee of £750,000, has made more than 500 league appearances and will wear the Number 10 shirt.

Delighted Miller said “It has been a long time but I am delighted to be back.

“Hartlepool is a fantastic club and I owe them a lot having started here.

“I had an offer from abroad but I wanted to come back to Hartlepool. Colin asked me to come in and train and I was delighted to do that.

“I played a few games and settled in straight away,” added Miller.

Former Leeds and Chelsea midfielder Woods featured against Bradford Park Avenue and Spennymoor Town during pre-season and also impressed Cooper in training.

Meanwhile, young winger Brobbel has joined Pools on a month-long loan deal from Middlesbrough.

The 21-year-old, who is from Hartlepool, linked up with his new team-mates yesterday.

Dixon has been with Sunderland’s Academy since he was 14 and has previously spent time on loan at Workington Reds in February last year.

The 20-year-old trained with his new team-mates at Victoria Park before the squad headed south yesterday.

Former Pools forward James Poole has signed non-contract terms with League Two side Bury.