Hartlepool United’s Neale Cooper won’t be rushed into new signings

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NEALE Cooper has issued a “don’t worry” message to Hartlepool United fans.

The Pools manager has yet to make any new signings and says he will wait to get the “right men” for the side’s League One campaign.

It’s a programme which starts on August 18 with a mouthwatering home date against League Two champions Swindon Town.

The Robins this week made three top signings – wide midfielder Gary Roberts from Huddersfield Town, Shrewsbury striker James Collins and Yeovil goal-getter Andy Williams.

And while the Pools chequebook has remained close thus far, Cooper says he is not going to bring in players now just for the sake of saying the club has signed someone.

“We have got to be patient,” Cooper said.

“Not a great deal happens at this time because players who have been released in this country still get paid until the end of June – in Scotland, it’s a little different, it tends to be the end of May.

“So because the boys are still getting wages there is not a great deal of movement this month. And with clubs not starting pre-season training until July a lot of boys are still away on holiday.

“We will be patient in order to get the right men.”

Pools have already been strongly linked with two players who started their careers at Victoria Park before going on to find fame and fortune elsewhere.

The club’s record transfer sale, Tommy Miller, and powerful forward Steve Howard are both available after being released by npower Championship clubs Huddersfield Town and Leicester City.

Miller has already told of his desire to wear the Pools shirt again while it is understood Howard would be receptive to a move back to the club, for who he scored 27 goals between 1995-99.

League One rivals Notts County are known to be interested in the 36-year-old and Howard lives in the Nottingham area.

However, Howard is a North East lad, whose family live on Tyneside, and is close pals with Cooper’s right-hand-man Michael Barron.

Cooper did not refer to Miller or Howard by name but did admit that he had “spoken to two or three boys” and was “waiting to hear back from people”.

The Scot said he has been bombarded with phone calls from agents offering him “hundreds of players” but will not sign anyone without knowing them or having watched them.

“I will not sign anyone blind,” explained Cooper. “I’ve seen it before so many times – you get told (by an agent) that a player is this that and the other. But when you get them on the training ground they turn out to be rubbish.

“I will not sign anyone I don’t know or have not seen them play – no way, not in a million years. As I said before, we have got to be patient.

“If we are offered players, there is plenty of time to see them – we are back in training on July 5 and then we go to Holland.”

Cooper admitted he released several players last month with something of a heavy heart but says it was necessary to free up funds.

“I was happy we had the nucleus of a squad,” he said. “But we needed a bit of money to spend. But we’ll only be signing people we either know or like.”