Satisfaction guaranteed for Hartlepool United’s Cooper

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HARTLEPOOL United boss Colin Cooper insists he is happy with his squad for the League Two run-in.

While disappointed to lose star defender Jack Baldwin on deadline day to Peterborough United in a deal worth potentially £750,000, Cooper said he was delighted to capture the signings of three new players in the January transfer window.

The Baldwin deal also gives the Victoria Park club leeway in terms of further loan signings.

Cooper said the impact of his signings since taking over the reins at Victoria Park are proof that the management team, including assistant boss Craig Hignett, know a good player when they see one.

In January, experienced striker Marlon Harewood, 34, was signed on a permanent deal, while Pools also managed to bring in loan stars Luke Williams, 20, from neighbours Middlesbrough and Jack Barmby, 19, a forward from Manchester United.

All three have impressed in their first appearances for Pools, with the highly-rated loanees, in particular, grabbing the headlines.

Cooper has gone on the record saying he would love to extend the deals beyond the initial month.

“I am happy with the business in the window in terms of players coming in,” said Cooper.

“With all due respect, with what happened to Jack on deadline day, it just allows us a little bit more leeway to maybe bring in a loan or two if we need to.

“The finances were pretty tight, having brought Marlon, Luke and Jack in.

“We have to speak to Middlesbrough and Manchester United because I’d like to keep them both here, but it

just gives us a little bit more leeway in case we need to bring in one or two more in the loan window to bolster us, to try and find something that may make us better.”

Williams has started all three matches and been man of the match in two of them, while Barmby came off the bench to score a wonderstrike in his Pools and Football League debut in the 2-0 win over York City.

Cooper also believes the three signings plus those players signed on permanent or loan deals or promoted to the first team since the summer have all made a positive impression.

Right-back Michael Duckworth and Boro loan signings Christian Burgess and Matty Dolan, who has since left, have all impressed, while youth player Brad Walker has also made the step-up to the first team this season and been rewarded with two call ups to an England Under-18 training camp.

Winger Jack Compton has also impressed on occasions but needs to be more consistent, while Nialle Rodney is yet to make an impression in the first-team.

Cooper added: “I’d like to think that the people we have brought into the football club have all proved that I know what I’m talking about, and Craig as well.

“Everyone that we have brought in has been an asset so far and long may that continue, because if we keep bringing in decent players we might be alright.”

H Pools’ Reserves outgunned a youthful Rotherham second string 6-0 in their Final Third Development League Cup tie at Billingham Town last night.

Zak Boagey needed just three minutes to make the breakthrough, with Lewis Hawkins finishing off a tremendous move to double the lead.

Greg Rutherford (2), defender Dan Jones and trialist Jordan Deacey also got in on the act for Craig Hignett’s side, who could have had even more goals such was their dominance.