For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Cooper keen on ex-Boro defender Bates
COLIN Cooper holds a hope that defender Matthew Bates could sign for Hartlepool United.
The centre-half has been without a club since leaving Bristol City last season and has been training with Pools for a number of weeks.
Cooper, and his right-hand man Craig Hignett, both played with Bates during their time at Middlesbrough. Bates suffered a torrid time with injuries, five times rupturing cruciate knee ligaments.
He is hopeful of landing a deal from a club at Championship level, but, until that arrives he will continue to train with Pools – and the longer he goes without a deal, the more likely, Cooper hopes, the 26-year-old will sway towards signing for Pools.
“We've given Matthew the opportunity to come and train and play football. He was spending his time in a gym, training alone, he doesn’t have a club,’’ said Cooper.
“We have talked about the possibility of Matthew signing for us, it’s his decision, and we would like him if he chose to.
“We're not rich on finance unfortunately but, if we could do something and Matthew was keen, then why would you not take someone of his quality?
“But that will be his decision. If there is something better out there for him then so be it.
“We’re just giving him the opportunity to be fit and be ready to play. If he chooses to play for Hartlepool then great.’’
Bates made 104 appearances for Boro and also had loan spells at Darlington and Ipswich before signing for Bristol City last November.
Cooper added: “He wants to train and get football fit. Four / five games in and it’s up to him how long he goes with it for.
“I'm quite happy to have someone of Matthew's quality here even if he's just training.
“I'm trying to raise standards and raise the bar and, if Matthew is training with this group every day, then the bar is raised.’’
One player no longer training with Pools is Michael Rae. The former Pools trainee was hopeful of making a return to the professional ranks, but has now signed for Celtic Nation from Spennymoor.
“We were asked to have a look at Michael, Craig knows him better than I do,’’ said Cooper.
“He came in and trained and played in a reserve game for us, but we were told earlier in the week that he had signed for Celtic Nation.
“Spennymoor and Celtic Nation have done a deal, so there you go.
“There are other avenues we can explore.
“But because of finance we'll be concentrating on the loan market when it reopens on the 8th of September. That is an avenue we will explore and that’s why we are continuing to watch games.’’
Pools will set off this morning ahead of tomorrow’s game at Torquay, training at Leicester City en route.
“We're lucky in that our connections with Nigel Pearson at Leicester City means we can train there and split the journey up perfectly,’’ said Cooper.
“They have been great, we'll get a good pitch, get fed afterwards then carry on with our journey down to Torquay.
“Modern-day football, certainly at the higher end belittles these journeys by being able to fly and I’ve been lucky enough to do over the years.
“These are the real journeys in football and I've done the eight, nine-hour trips on the coach.
“It becomes two smaller journeys stopping at Leicester rather than one long one.
“We allowed Blackpool to train here last weekend before they played Middlesbrough as we know Paul (Ince) very well. Breaking the journey up for us allows us to break it up, two smaller journeys rather than a long nine-hour haul.’’
Comments are closed on this article.