Hartlepool United’s Neale Cooper continues his search for a striker

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HARTLEPOOL United boss Neale Cooper is still looking for a striker – depite his side scoring four goals on Saturday.

Cooper saw his side demolish northern neighbours Carlisle United, and he has challenged his current players to persuade him to abandon his transfer trawl.

“The striker search is still on, we need options,” he said. “I get asked that question all the time about a striker, but I said to the players again it’s up to them to make me not go out and get someone.

“It’s about finding that right player. If the players here show me that they’re better than what’s available, then so be it.”

Tonight sees the close of the January transfer window, although that is not a pressing issue for Pools given they will only have to wait one week before the loan window reopens.

Former Newcastle United winger Alan O’Brien – a free agent since being released by Yeovil Town this month – could arrive on trial this week, and Cooper will continue to follow up recommendations at reserve-team fixtures up and down the land.

He has already seen Sunderland, Bolton, Leeds and Celtic in action, and he had hoped to run the rule over one or two Everton youngsters before their second-string game at Wigan Athletic was postponed last week.

The feeling is that Cooper will press ahead with his intention to bolster his striking options – indeed, last week’s news that Stephen Wright had been released by the club was with the idea of freeing up funds for a new frontman.

But with teenage star Luke James firing another two goals during the weekend rout of the Cumbrians, Antony Sweeney netting his second in as many matches and Colin Nish marking his return from injury with a tidy strike, the Pools chief has been cheered by his side’s attacking threat.

“We’re playing a system at the moment in which the players can interchange,” he explained.

“We’ve looked more of a threat and Sweens, in particular, is back to himself and his energy is incredible.

“So going forward I think we’ve improved a wee bit in the last few weeks, but we’re still working all the time to get better.”