COLIN COOPER has again utilised Hartlepool United’s links with Middlesbrough – both current and old – to land two new signings.

Luke Williams has arrived on loan for a month from the Riverside, while Manchester United prospect Jack Barmby has also moved to Victoria Park. Williams becomes the third Boro product to move up the A19 this season, following Christian Burgess and Matty Dolan. But the capture of Barmby goes deeper. Jack’s father Nicky was a Boro team-mate for Pools’ assistant boss Craig Hignett during the 1990s.

Barmby senior was at Pools’ Durham training ground yesterday as his son trained with his new temporary team-mates. Both Williams and Barmby – two attack minded players - are likely to face York at Victoria Park tomorrow as Pools seek to end a run of three successive defeats in 2014. With Marlon Harewood set for his home debut, Pools’ attacking output could have a new look about it.

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“It is an interesting one for Pools in that we now have a connection with Manchester United, who have an awful lot of young players,’’ reflected Cooper. “They have been very helpful and expressed their view that Jack was ready for something a bit more than development football
“It is a difficult period at a high level club between the age of 19 and 21. I am not saying that unless you are a superstar you can get lost but these clubs do have a lot of numbers “I think Man United have somewhere in the region of 30 players between those ages, some of whom go out on loan, but they have a difficulty giving everyone game time.

“Warren Joyce (United’s U-21 coach) believes that Jack is ready for exposure.’’ And Cooper added: “Craig and Nick are friends and have been in contact and I’m very grateful that Manchester United felt it was a good thing for him to come here “I think clubs recognise what we are trying to do and are happy to send their players to us knowing that we’ll continue their development as young footballers and give them exposure to League football.

“Jack is one of these lads who can play anywhere across the front. He’s a left footer who can play left or right and is a good size, 6ft 1in.

“He looks very elegant on the ball, he is able to beat defenders and he’s a positive young player.’’ Cooper has long been hopeful of landing Williams and Sheffield United were one of a number of clubs keen to sign him on a temporary basis. His last appearance for Boro was in their FA Cup defeat to Hull City earlier this month.

“People know Luke is someone I have had an interest in for a while,’’ confirmed Cooper.
“Having had conversations with Middlesbrough and with Luke, it is an opportunity to make him feel good. He was very keen to come and play some games. “Since he was 16 he’s had that immediate rise under Gordon Strachan and then a levelling off. “He’s been up and around the first-team squad ever since and I think everyone recognises his talent – but it’s finding the right place

“I think the FA Cup game was a disappointment for Luke to start and then be brought off. “I just think seeing what Aitor Karanka has done this week in sending out quite a people on loan etc I saw this as an opportunity. “From Luke’s perspective it was an opportunity he wanted to take, he’s excited As I keep saying I am interested in bringing players in playerrs who will add quality - Luke has undoubted quality.’’