Hartlepool United’s Neale Cooper believes in player power

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NEALE Cooper has revealed his new scouting system for Hartlepool United – his players.

The Pools boss admits he is still acclimatising to the English game after more than five years away.

As a result, he has made it a prerequisite that any potential signings must first spend a trial period at Maiden Castle.

Indeed, several players have now been and gone, with Cooper opting against their recruitment.

And the Scot admits the first people he sounds out for an opinion on those potential signings are his current stars.

“We’ve had a few lads in and they’ve spent a bit of time with us, that’s important,” he said, as Pools resumed training following a free weekend after the postponement of Saturday’s trip to Bury.

“You get a feel for people, as a player and a person.

“And the lads themselves know – they’re a good judge.

“I’ll ask them what they think because it’s vitally important a player fits in to what we’re doing here.

“I want them to come and meet the players because we’re not going to take anyone blind.

“Within two or three days you can just sense if someone is right.

“I’ve had emails in from plenty and had players in training with us, but they aren’t the answer at the moment – I haven’t been excited about any of them.”

Cooper readily invites talk of bringing in new players and when the loan window reopens later this week he will again look to sign a striker.

“I’ve spoken quite a bit about looking for a new striker – that is still the case,” he went on.

“I don’t think that talk is doing any harm – if anything it’s putting a bit of pressure on the forwards to perform and that’s good.

“I know myself having been a player that a bit of competition soon brings out the best in you.”

Cooper afforded his boys a weekend off having seen the Bury game fall foul of the weather.

And he is hoping there is minimum disruption to this week’s preparations for Saturday’s visit of Bournemouth.

“The lads have earned a weekend off because we’ve put a lot of hard work in on the training pitch recently – they didn’t even get Monday off after the 4-0 win against Carlisle!” he laughed.

“We’re just hoping the weather clears up a bit so we can have another good week ahead of the weekend.

“We’re on a great little run right now and we’re hoping that continues because, like I said last week, we haven’t given up on the play-offs.”