Cooper hopes Hartlepool United can strike it lucky at last

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HARTLEPOOL United’s search for a first goal of the season continues tomorrow – and Neale Cooper admits he’d happily take a “lucky deflection” to get the ball rolling, writes CRAIG HOPE.

From carving out a string of chances – and twice hitting the woodwork – in the opening two games of the campaign against Crewe and Swindon, Pools failed to register a single effort on target during the 2-0 defeat at Notts County last time out.

Steve Howard has come closest for Pools, but the service to the summer signing dried up drastically at Meadow Lane.

“There’s no pressure on the players because telling them we have to go out and score goals can play on your mind,” Cooper said ahead of tomorrow’s League One visit of fellow strugglers Scunthorpe.

“I’m confident the goals will come and if we get a lucky deflection and it goes in then it takes a wee bit of weight off them.

“If we got one of those early doors tomorrow then that would be great.

“There have been chances to score, but we have to be more positive.

“If we get that first goal and some momentum kicks in then I think we can hurt teams.”

Cooper is pondering switching to a 4-3-3 formation, allowing Andy Monkhouse and Jon Franks to be pushed up to support Howard in attack.

Neil Austin, Sam Collins and Howard have all shaken off minor knocks to feature, while Paul Murray is set to win his first start of the season.

HARTLEPOOL (probable): Flinders; Austin, Hartley, Collins, Horwood; Murray, Walton, Sweeney; Franks, Howard, Monkhouse. Subs: McHugh, Baldwin, Poole, James, Humphreys, Holden, Luscombe