Hartlepool boss hopes to keep young stars

Jack Baldwin
Jack Baldwin
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THE January transfer window opened today but Hartlepool United boss Colin Cooper won’t be welcoming any bids for his “outstanding” young players.

Cooper admits while he won’t stand in the way of players progressing their careers, he said is likely to be “batting off” would-be suitors and believes their short-term future is best served at Victoria Park.

Both centre-back Jack Baldwin, 20 (pictured), and 19-year-old striker Luke James have been linked with Sunderland this season, while the scouts list is getting longer every week as clubs run their eyes over the young Pools players.

But Cooper says Pools will hold onto their players, unless chairman Ken Hodcroft receives a bid too good to turn down.

When asked whether the club would be trying to knock back bigger clubs this month, Cooper responded: “The only answer I would give, is we don’t have to do anything.

“I read a couple of tweets that someone said because Luke James didn’t play the other day, that we had a bid lined up and he was going in January.

“We don’t have to do anything because our football club is run well and we don’t have to make up a (financial) deficit. If we choose that it is right for the club, and right for the player, then we make that choice. We are not forced to do anything.

“I don’t see any reason why we can’t keep this group unless somebody comes in with something stupid and the chief executive and chairman say ‘listen....’”