WOULD-BE suitors are welcome to sign Hartlepool United defender Jack Baldwin – providing the price is right.
Sunderland, and an increasing number of other clubs, have been linked with an interest in Baldwin and teen sensation Luke James.
Pools boss Colin Cooper insists he will not stand in the way of any of his best players bettering themselves.
But the 46-year-old insists that the deal would have to be right for Pools.
“I have gone on record already saying that we have a lot of players that are attracting attention,” Cooper said.
“The list of scouts coming to watch our team is getting longer.
“I think, on Saturday, for our FA Cup tie, we had 15 and a lot are from high-end clubs.
“It doesn’t surprise me about Jack, he’s been outstanding.
“He’s worked very hard to where he is now and he will keep attracting people.
“He had a good strong season in League One last year and he’s just carried that on.
“It’s a big shot in the arm for Jack that people are watching him.
“Clubs are watching four or five of our players and that’s lovely.
“We have to look at what’s best for them as individuals and what’s best for Hartlepool United as a club.
“We can continue to develop these players.
“If a Premier League club came knocking for Jack Baldwin, I don’t think I am a person who could turn that dream down.
“I think you have to say ‘you’ve got to get on with your life’.
“It would benefit him and it would benefit Pools.
“It’s the same with any of our players.
“We’d do it on our terms.
“If we think it’s right for the player and for Hartlepool then we’d consider it.”
But Cooper had a word of caution over the prospects of an influx of cash at Victoria Park.
“I’ve spoken to one or two managers about our players, but the finance in football outside the Premier League and the top end of the Championship isn’t great,” he said.
“We might have a lot of people looking, but I’d be very surprised if they are opening cheque books.”