COLIN COOPER insists he won’t be rushed into making signings in January for the sake of it.

The Hartlepool United boss has been operating in the first half of the season with a small squad, and has been reliant on two key loan signings from Middlesbrough to bolster his numbers.

Christian Burgess and Matty Dolan have become key components of his side, with both parties benefiting from the arrangements.

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And, when it comes to adding to his options, Cooper won’t be panicking.

The New Year’s Day 3-0 defeat at home to Bury was deflating following two firstclass away performances in the previous week.

But Cooper, who has given his players time off until Monday as there is no game tomorrow with planned opponents Southend in the FA Cup, won’t fret.

“I’m happy with the effort, commitment and what the players have taken on board in the first half of the season,’’ he said.

“We are going to push on and, for me, I’ll erase the Bury game and say that 2014 will start for us on January 11.

“I’ve already made one phone call about someone who may be available who could help us. You try and make calls and get ahead of the game and see what’s out there.

“With Peter (Hartley) going to Stevenage and Stevie (Howard) retiring, hopefully there’s a bit of scope to get people in.

“I won’t sign anyone for the sake of it, only to improve the squad.

“I would suggest we need a bit of freshening up, the group have been great, but I need them to think about things. We have started that process.’’ Sunderland’s young French striker Mikael Mandron is on on his radar and Cooper added: “We have some good players and I look at the bench and feel they deserve an opportunity – so unless I can go and get someone who I think will go straight into the team and makes us better, it’s difficult.

“I want to sign players who will improve us in all areas of the pitch.

“I know people look at our players, we look at others and January is a difficult time. Do we need to do all our business in January? Let’s see how it goes.

“I just want to make us better and I won’t be pressured into doing anything different.

If I don’t see anyone who will improve us then I won’t do it for the sake of it. We are alright, not brilliant, but we will have ups and downs. I want more ups and I think we have done that so far.

“And I want to keep improving until, worst case scenario the end of May – best case scenario early May. But let’s see how it goes.’’ Wednesday’s defeat was Pools’ first since losing at Bury in November, although they had drawn five of those games.

Pools have progressed under Cooper. He admitted: “Overall form has been very good. We could have turned a couple of those draws into wins, but we aren’t a very big squad.

“The performance at Morecambe was very good, in spells against Bury we pegged them back.

“I told the lads to have a look and think about how the goals happened and the feeling you had at Morecambe and then against Bury are matched up.

“But we crack on and, when Rochdale come here next Saturday – a team who are one of the best footballing sides in the division – we will be ready.”