HARTLEPOOL United boss Colin Cooper is hoping trialists Tommy Miller and Jonathan Greening will both be able to feature in tomorrow’s pre-season friendly at Bradford City.
Cooper, who had a spell as caretaker manager at City earlier in his career, will take his first-team squad to the Coral Windows Stadium (KO 3pm) as he looks to nail down his plans ahead of the new campaign.
Pools start their Sky Bet League Two campaign away to Stevenage next Saturday and Cooper is hoping to see both Greening and Miller in action again before making a decision on their futures.
Miller, 35, has been training with Pools for more than a fortnight now following his release from Bury at the end of last season, while Greening has been training at Maiden Castle since Tuesday.
The 35-year-old, who played the full 90 minutes in the 2-0 defeat to Middlesbrough on Wednesday night, had spent two weeks on trial at Championship side Rotherham United but failed to win a contract.
Miller missed the Boro defeat with a hamstring problem, but Cooper is hopeful they will both be able to feature against Phil Parkinson’s League One side – who have former Pools midfielders Gary Liddle and Matty Dolan in their squad.
Pools played Bradford last season, beating them 5-0 at Victoria Park in the first round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Cooper said: “Bradford is a great game for us. I know Parky very well and we played them in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last year and I know what kind of game we will be in for.
“We have to match their physicality, they were only in this league two seasons ago and know all about it.
“Parky has a certain way he plays and we need to match that and play some decent football in the right areas of the pitch.
“Sometimes, being progressive is just trying to play in their half rather than your own.
“The one thing we didn’t do against Middlesbrough was play enough in their half and we will attempt to do that on Saturday.
“We have a fantastic test at Stevenage on the opening day (of the season) and playing at Bradford will be a similar challenge – can we handle what they throw at us and still have the bravery and believe to try and do what we do?”
On the two trialists, Cooper added: “If Tommy [Miller] is okay, then hopefully we can have a look at the pair of them at Bradford.”
Pools are expected to take a strong side to Bradford, with the opening League Two match taking place seven days later.
That means Scott Flinders is likely to continue in goal with Michael Duckworth, Neil Austin, Matthew Bates and Darren Holden starting in defence. Greening is likely to start in midfield alongside Brad Walker, with Luke James and Marlon Harewood also expected to start.
Stuart Parnaby went off with a slight knock to his shin against Middlesbrough but Cooper is hoping it is nothing serious.
He added: “I think he over stretched and Grant (Leadbitter) caught him in the shin. It is more of a nerve thing and he felt it tingling but hopefully he will be okay after a day or two.”
Trialist Michael Woods, who has been struggling with a groin injury, is not expected to feature at Bradford City, with Cooper instead likely to play him against Spennymoor Town away on Monday night.
Cooper added: “It is more likely we will see Michael at Spennymoor.
“He is really keen and wants to do himself justice and jump back into league football and I am giving him that opportunity.
“The groin injury just hasn’t settled down enough but he is hoping to be ready for Spennymoor.”