Neale Cooper rules out ‘blind’ signings for Hartlepool United

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NEALE Cooper will not risk signing a new player “blind” – and they will instead have to pass his personality test first.

The Hartlepool United boss will invite “one or two” potential additions to their Maiden Castle next week for a trial period.

Former Newcastle United winger Alan O’Brien – released by Yeovil Town this month – could be among them, although it is unlikely ex-Darlington skipper Jamie Chandler will be.

Cooper knows that he only has a little room for manoeuvre when it comes to strengthening his squad during the transfer window, and that is why he is determined to get it right.

“The search goes on and I’ve spoken to people again this week,” he said today ahead of boarding the team bus for tomorrow’s League One clash at Exeter City.

“It’s about getting the right players and it’s about getting them in to train with us as well. I’d far prefer that if I haven’t seen them play.

“I don’t want to go and take someone blind, no matter what club it’s from. The options are there for one or two boys to come in next week.

“You’ve got to make sure a player will fit in here, because we have a good bunch and having that spirit is so important.”

Former Republic of Ireland international O’Brien is a player Cooper will be aware of following his two seasons in the SPL with Hibernian.

A move to Swindon Town followed and, after two years at the County Ground, O’Brien signed for Yeovil last summer.

The Pools chief added: “Alan O’Brien is one lad who has been offered to us and it might be a case of bringing him in at some stage.”

Cooper will almost certainly be without James Poole (hamstring) for tomorrow’s game against Paul Tisdale’s men, but Colin Nish (knee) is back in full training.

There is every chance Cooper could name an unchanged side, with teenage boy-of-the-moment Luke James again starting in a central striker’s role.