Midweek marvels to get another chance to shine for Hartlepool United

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COLIN Cooper is set to name an unchanged Hartlepool United side for tomorrow’s visit of Wycombe Wanderers (kick-off 3pm).

Pools were resounding 5-0 victors over Bradford City in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday night.

And, while the boss baulks at the notion of any player having a guaranteed starting spot, he nonetheless concedes it would be difficult to make any changes this weekend.

“You have to decide what the right thing is to do against any opposition,” said Cooper, considering the threat the Chairboys could pose.

“We were conscious of getting another striker onto the pitch against Bradford and that meant sacrificing one of the midfield players.

“But it will be very difficult for me to change it again because everyone deserved a lot of credit from that performance on Tuesday.”

And that means the continuation of strike pairing Luke James and Andy Monkhouse.

The former opened the scoring against the Bantams while his partner took man-of-the-match honours.

And Cooper went on: “I can’t promise Luke and Andy a run in the team but they both justified what we thought they could bring.

“For a lad of Luke’s age, if you’re not hungry and not like a sponge every day then you’ll struggle.

“But he is, he wants to learn.

“We all know his talent and on Tuesday we saw that.

“He was in the right areas to score goals and that’s what we need.”

He added: “I saw Andy play as a central striker last season and I think he has a lot to offer in that position.

“But one swallow doesn’t make a summer.

“If them two boys want to cement their place then that level of performance has to be week in, week out.

“I’m sure James Poole, Nialle Rodney and Steve Howard will have something to say about it.

“But at the moment the ball is in their court and if they produce like they did the other night then it will be very difficult for me not pick them as a pair.”

Howard, who suffered a facial injury at Torquay United last weekend, is set to return to the bench but the game will come too soon for skipper Tony Sweeney.

As Cooper explained: “Sweens won’t make it but is very close.

“Steve is OK to train despite the nasty gash under his eye.

“Simon Walton got a kick on the side of his calf and we’ll see how he goes.”

POOLS (probable): Flinders; Duckworth, Burgess, Baldwin, Austin; Franks, Dolan, Walker, Compton; James, Monkhouse. Subs: Rafferty, Howard, Rodney, Collins, Poole, Holden, Walton