Hartlepool boss Cooper eyes former Premier League men

Hartlepool-born Michael Brown is a potential signing for Hartlepool United boss Colin Cooper

Hartlepool-born Michael Brown is a potential signing for Hartlepool United boss Colin Cooper

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HARTLEPOOL United boss Colin Cooper is looking to add experience to his central midfield options, with three former Premier League midfielders on his radar.

Michael Brown, Jonathan Greening and David Prutton have all been heavily linked with the Victoria Park club and Cooper admits that he is eager to strengthen in midfield.

Another name in the frame is striker Rob Earnshaw, with the 33-year-old former Welsh international available on a free after leaving Blackpool.

Cooper is not confirming any names, but he stressed that he is looking to add one or two more experienced players to the Pools squad.

So far, Pools have signed experienced former Middlesbrough defenders Matthew Bates and Stuart Parnaby following the release of Andy Monkhouse and Simon Walton, while James Poole and Antony Sweeney turned down new contract offers.

When the four links were put to Cooper at Pools’ Spanish training camp, he said: “They are all good players and people who have had very good careers.

“All people who can handle a football and who would add something to Hartlepool United.

“If I could add them four to the two I have got, I would be a happy man.”

Hartlepool-born Brown, 37, is a combative central midfielder with a wealth of experience, having played for Manchester City, Tottenham, Fulham and Wigan in the top flight.

Brown also enjoyed two spells at Portsmouth and spent last season at Leeds.

It is understood that Cooper is keen to entice Brown – first linked to Pools in May – to Victoria Park ahead of the new season’s assault on Sky Bet League Two.

One-time Manchester United midfielder Greening, 35, is a free agent following his release by Nottingham Forest, while 32-year-old Prutton – formerly at Southampton – was freed by Sheffield Wednesday at the end of last season.

Pools fans will remember Earnshaw for a spectacular strike at Victoria Park during the early days of his career with Cardiff.

Cooper added: “I am trying to add some good players with a good mentality – people that have been round the block a wee bit but still have that real desire to win and not just let their careers come to an end.

“We are short of experience, we know that.

“With Matthew and Stuart, we have added some good experience. Do we need one or two more older heads? Maybe.

“I still want people who have a hunger and desire and that can be a 17-year-old or a 37-year-old.

“I have no problem with that, along as they can fulfil my philosophies, handle a football and have a will to win and a will not to lose, then it doesn’t matter who they are.

“But they are smashing names and if I had a few of those in my squad we would be alright.”