Hartlepool United’s Neale Cooper: We are all in this together

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NEALE Cooper insists he isn’t making a “scapegoat” of any player at Hartlepool United – and says that all of his squad are pulling in the same direction.

The Scot made a statement ahead of last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Shrewsbury Town by dropping three senior players, Andy Monkhouse, Simon Walton and Neil Austin.

Monkhouse subsequently emerged in the second half to salvage a last-minute point for Pools, and Cooper has been pleased by his reaction over the past few days.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Colchester United, an upbeat Cooper said: “Andy’s worked well this week. When players aren’t picked they’re frustrated and I speak to them – it’s not nice being left out.

“But the reaction I got from him was perfect.

“No one is a scapegoat here – we’re all in this together, it’s not about picking out individuals.”

Austin is set to continue on the bench tomorrow after replacement Jack Baldwin landed man-of-the-match plaudits against The Shrews.

Monkhouse, as well as Walton, could come into contention for a recall, with Cooper targeting the same approach which came within seconds of garnering victory at Bournemouth earlier this month, only a stoppage-time leveller denying them a 1-0 success.