More proof that Hartlepool United need a striker

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COLIN Cooper will today redouble his efforts to bring a goalscorer to Hartlepool United.

The Pools boss has watched on as his side have failed to score in their opening two matches in League Two.

Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Southend sees them occupying bottom spot, with last season’s failings – which led to relegation – all too apparent.

Cooper now has three weeks to strengthen his attacking options before the transfer window shuts, but the manager will be keen to bring in new faces before this Saturday’s trip to York City.

He is expected to watch Sunderland U21s this afternoon and Middlesbrough’s second string tonight, and took in a match yesterday.

“People still tell us they want to help us and hopefully on the back of that let’s hope we can do something,” said Cooper.

“I want players who can come straight in if possible to make us stronger on the whole.”

But goals, or the lack of them, remain the problem.

Pools failed to find a way beyond 10-man Southend, and Cooper added: “We need a solution to putting the ball in the goal and we will do that. The bits in between are coming and the rest will be there.

“I’m not going to make any bones about it – we have to find a solution and that’s our job.

“We have to find a way of getting on the end of deliveries into the box.

“Not every time, sometimes Jack (Compton) and Franksy (Jon Franks) have to make the decisions of what kind of cross to put in.

“If there isn’t a cross to be had, then find a way to pick a way through rather than getting a shot off – pass it or slide someone in.

“I’m disappointed and I’m frustrated, but I genuinely believe we will be fine.”

Cooper has backed teenage defender Darren Holden to recover from the mistake – a mis-hit clearance –which presented Southend with their fifth-minute winning goal.

“Darren will be fine. It’s a mistake and you learn from it,” Cooper said.

“People make mistakes and I won’t give any stick for making a genuine mistake, but make a mistake and ask how you learn from it, that’s the way forward.”

Holden’s error saw Will Atkinson attack the by-line, dribbling by the defender, before squaring for Eastwood to hook home from close range.

“Darren slashed at the ball and that’s when you mis-hit it. His first mistake was a slightly panicked clearance and his second was to lunge in as the lad skipped by him,” added Cooper.

“But I like Darren – he has energy and pace and I can help him with the defensive side of it as we move forward.’’

HARTLEPOOL: Flinders, Austin, Baldwin, Burgess, Holden, Walker, Franks (Rodney 78), Poole, Sweeney (Walton 18), Compton, James (Howard 62). Subs not used: Collins, Rafferty, Richards, Boagey. Booked: Austin, Baldwin

SOUTHEND: Bentley, White, Phillips, Prosser, Coker, Atkinson, Leonard, Laird (Thompson 83), Straker, Corr, Eastwood (Cowan 73). Subs not used: P Smith, Timlin, Reid, Clifford, Payne. Sent Off: Corr (45). Goal: Eastwood 5.

Att: 3,479. Ref: Mark Brown (East Yorkshire)