Releasing players is hard – Neale Cooper

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NEALE Cooper is set to inform at least half a dozen of his players that their time at Hartlepool United is up – but he admits it is the hardest job in football.

The Pools boss will sit down with all of his out-of-contract players over the course of the next 24 hours to discuss their future.

It is expected that the vast majority of those will be released, with the deals of Adam Boyd, James Brown, Steve Haslam, Colin Larkin and Nolberto Solano all set to expire this month.

Gary Liddle and Paul Murray will also enter talks with the club, although there is no guarantee Cooper will choose to retain both central midfielders, while player-coach Ritchie Humphreys is another whose deal is up.

Cooper has long since insisted the need for change at Victoria Park, but he concedes that the process of showing players the door is never an easy one.

“To go and tell boys they’re being released is hard – it’s the hardest job a manager has to do,” the Scot said.

“It’s not about sentiment.

“I like all the players at this club – there’s not one I don’t get on with.

“When you like people it’s harder – it might not be so bad if I didn’t like any of them!

“They are a good bunch of boys, but this team needs to change because it’s not good enough.”