NEALE Cooper will today begin a double-quick search for “three or four” loan players having seen his Hartlepool United squad decimated by injury.
The latest blow came during the warm-up before Saturday’s dour goalless draw at Walsall when skipper Sam Collins tore his calf muscle, potentially ruling him out for the remainder of the season.
That came on the back of Friday’s news that Colin Nish has suffered another knee injury, joining James Poole (thigh), Gary Liddle (shin), Luke James (back) and Colin Larkin (knee) in the treatment room.
Those mounting fitness woes forced Cooper into handing surprise starts to 18-year-olds Lewis Hawkins and Josh Rowbotham at the weekend, while another teenager, Jack Baldwin, also featured from the off.
The Scot was in bullish mood ahead of what he hopes is a busy week on the incoming front.
“It’s a big week for us to go and look for three or four players if we can,” he said.
“We have to – we don’t have the depth in the squad at the moment with so many out injured.
“I’d like three or four to come in because we need that – you could see that on Saturday.
“We’ve had to defend, which we did well, but without creating anything and it’s hard work sitting watching us hanging onto that point.”
It took until the hour mark for Sweeney to threaten for the visitors.
Only then it was a half chance at best, the midfielder latching onto Ritchie Humphreys’ headed flick inside the area before seeing home keeper David Grof scamper from his line and block the close-range effort.
That was it from a Pools perspective.
At the other end Flinders didn’t have a save to make.
Walsall: Grof, Sadler, Butler, Lancashire (Smith), Beevers, Hurst, Cuvelier, Mantom, Macken (Chambers), Nicholls, Bowerman (Grigg). Subs: Walker, Jones.
Hartlepool United: Flinders, Austin, Horwood, Baldwin, Rowbotham (Boyd), Hartley, Humphreys, Monkhouse, Sweeney, Murray, Hawkins (Brown). Subs: Rafferty, Haslam, Richards.
Ref: Attwell Att: 3,751