Hartlepool United’s Neale Cooper out to work closer with big three

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NEALE Cooper is keen to strengthen Hartlepool United’s links with the North East’s big three clubs – but his transfer trawl will take him further afield, writes CRAIG HOPE.

The Pools boss has already enjoyed an encouraging, hour-long meeting with Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray, at Boro’s Rockcliffe training ground and he will now approach Sunderland and Newcastle in a bid to set up similar face-to-face discussions.

“I don’t think relationships with the other clubs have been done enough at this club and it wasn’t when I was here last time,” Cooper said.

“It was great to meet Tony – he’s a total gentleman and I enjoyed it.

“His ideas are positive and good. I listened to his problems and he listened to mine. I enjoyed it and I hope he did.

“If we can meet up with the other clubs then that would be great.

“I know John Carver (assistant manager) at Newcastle and it would be nice to get five minutes with Mr (Alan) Pardew.

“We had Ryan Noble on loan here from Sunderland as well and we speak to them regularly.”

Cooper hopes for more loan deals with his neighbours, but admits that his transfer focus is not centred entirely on the North East’s youngsters.

“We need experienced players to come into this team,” he added. “We need players who have done it at a good level. It’s important to have that option of loans from the North East clubs and it’s something which can work well, but we also need to look further afield.”