COLIN Cooper predicts the arrival of new boys Jack Barmby and Luke Williams will bring the best out of his current Hartlepool United attackers.
The Pools boss has brought in long-time target Williams, from Middlesbrough, and Manchester United prospect Jack Barmby on month-long loan deals.
Williams, 20 and 19-year-old Barmby, the son of former Middlesbrough and England star Nick, will go straight into the squad for tomorrow’s League Two clash with York City at Victoria Park tomorrow.
Cooper believes not only will their quality improve a team looking to climb back up the table but provide a shot in the arm to their existing advanced players.
“Jack and Luke are both gifted boys,” Cooper said.
“But I’d like to think that the people we already have here and have been in the team will recognise the talent that has come in.
“I hope they will realise they will have to up their game and make sure they get their names on the team sheet first.
“If the arrival of two talented young players means players raise the standards in order to stay in the team then that’s great.
“This is what football is all about.
“You want players who will trample over their grandma to get into a football team.
“I am trying to make the people here better – there’s nothing wrong with players having to look over their shoulder.
“If someone comes past you because you have not been looking over your shoulder then that’s life.
“Signing Jack and Luke gives us some exciting options in the forward areas.”
Williams has been on Cooper’s radar for some time.
The Middlesbrough-born striker exploded onto the scene as a teenager at the Riverside – when he made his debut in 2009 he became the youngest Boro player in over a century, aged just 16 years and 200 days.
He earned a four-year contract, which expires this summer, and has been in and around the squad for some time and played in the 2-0 FA Cup third round defeat to Hull earlier this month.
Williams looks ready to start while Barmby may take an appearance or two to find his feet.
The youngster, who has been at United for five years and has won four England U19 caps, has played for the Red Devils U21 team in the Barclays Premier Reserve League.
“Luke and Jack excite me and I‘m not getting players in to make people happy,” Cooper said. “It’s to make a real impact in how we try to do things.
“They are both well schooled technically.
“I know they can both handle a football – but are they ready to handle the physicality and intensity of a League Two match on Saturday afternoon?
“That’s the big question.
“Luke has played quite a lot of league football, Jack not as much.
“Is Jack ready for League football and is Luke ready for League Two football?
“If they are both ready then they will be very exciting.
“But we already have players in those areas. Are they going to raise their game and fight for their places?
“Or are they going to say ‘they have brought someone else in, I’m not going to be playing’.
“We want serious competition and provide our club with some exciting young players to add to some of the people we’ve already got.”
Cooper hopes for a transformation in Pools’ fortunes following three successive defeats.
“We are looking forward, not back,” he insisted.
“I’m excited for the game tomorrow. It’s going to be a good match – I’m looking forward to seeing York bring a lot of fans up and filling the away end and hopefully making it a good atmosphere.
“The weather forecast is not good for the weekend so it may become a war of attrition.
“But, in my opinion, I have way I think we can get in and around York and hopefully get a result.”