Cooper talking to parent clubs about loanees

NO RETURN YET: Neil Austin

NO RETURN YET: Neil Austin

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

WHILE Colin Cooper is more than happy to have loan talents impressing in his side, he is well aware of the other side of the coin.

While Luke Williams makes an impact for Hartlepool United after moving on loan from Middlesbrough, the attacker is bound to catch the eye.

His goal last weekend in Pools’ win over Dagenham was his first since September 2012 when he netted in Boro’s 2-0 win over Ipswich.

But, with his parent club goalless in four games, a successful and productive spell at Victoria Park could last just a month. Cooper would love to have the 20-year-old available for the rest of the season.

He also wants to extend the loan period of Jack Barmby from Manchester United and yesterday admitted: “Luke, I think as soon as he starts playing as well as he has done for us and then gets a goal, straight away it’s raised that Middlesbrough haven’t scored for four games and Luke has scored. People say why isn’t Luke Williams there....

“I’m just waiting on conversations with both clubs and I’m very very keen to do something with both players for as long as we possibly can – until the end of the season, great or for another month, great.’’ He added: “I’ve spoke to both clubs this week and all they would both commit to is that they will have conversations about the players and let me know as quickly as possible.

“Hopefully it will be positive for both players. This is Jack’s first experience out on loan, I think he’s enjoying it and hopefully Warren Joyce (United under-21 coach) will be keen for that to continue.’’ Cooper is still hoping to further add to his ranks and accepts that following Jack Baldwin’s transfer to Peterborough, his defensive options are weakened.

Sam Collins and Christian Burgess are his only recognised centre-halves and admitted: “We have had phone calls about players, we do have people who can slot into positions, but we have missed players through injury and they are coming back in.

“But if Christian or Sam were to pick up suspensions or injury, we would have a hole. As soon as Jack left, I had various messages offering us centre-halves, but I know we have players more than capable of coming in and doing a job and Sam is one of them.

“We have to see how we go with players and there’s nothing concrete as yet, but we keep looking.’’ Full-back Neil Austin won’t play at the weekend, as he’s still suffering from the toe injury suffered in the 0-0 draw with Scunthorpe a couple of weeks ago.

“Neil is sore, very sore,’’ said Cooper. “We hoped he would be ok last week, but he trained Thursday and was OK. After we trained on Friday he struggled, so we sent him for an X-ray on Monday to rule out a broken toe and that was the case, he’s OK on that front.

“But as I said when he injured it against Scunny, it’s a real difficult one and you use your toe for a lot of things.

“Michael Duckworth is back in training, four week son Tuesday since hernia surgery and thankfully everyone else is OK.’’ Pools trained yesterday at Billingham Town and will be back there this morning with their usual training pitches at Maiden Castle in Durham saturated following the incessant rainfall.

Tomorrow’s game is not under any doubt with the Victoria Park pitch in very good condition.

“We are back training at Billingham as this pitch drains well – the grass pitches at Durham don’t and I don’t want to train on 3G all week,’’ admitted Cooper.

“Tuesday was a positive session on 3G and now we hope to train well at Billingham to prepare for the weekend.

“The forecast is not great for the weekend “The pitch is wet but we’ve had some wind and sun on it and the groundstaff have worked hard on it.

“We’ll have to hope the Vic holds up and get a game and try to continue that bit of momentum we have.’’

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