Frustrated Cooper hoping to bolster his depleted squad

The Northern Echo: Colin Cooper Colin Cooper

THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE emergency loan window closes this evening – and with his dressing room looking like a scene from Emergency Ward 10 on Tuesday, Colin Cooper is aiming to make a couple of signings.

Hartlepool United ended Tuesday’s 4-2 home defeat to Mansfield with a clutch of players suffering.

Marlon Harewood (knee), Jack Compton (hamstring), Antony Sweeney (hamstring), Darren Holden (back) all suffered, while Sam Collins had a lump on his face after a knock.

Cooper has previously been loathe to make any signings for the sake of it. With seven games to go his numbers need boosting for Saturday’s home game with Cheltenham.

Simon Walton is available after suspension, but one more booking will mean a two-game ban. Jack Barmby’s loan from Manchester United is up, but is expected to be extended.

“We’ve a few knocks and we can ill afford to have. Hopefully things I’ve put in place will happen before the deadline,’’ said Cooper.

“Simon’s suspension is over, so it’s a body back, but it’s not great overall. At the end of a hard season we don’t want anyone missing, but some bodies are being stretched.

“Now we need to try and bolster numbers to the weekend and beyond.

“I’m certainly looking at a centre-half and one or two others hopefully.

“Jack is keen to stay and actually came into the dressing room and said he didn’t want it to be his last game for Hartlepool. We’ve made contact with Manchester United and hopefully we can get it done.’’ Cooper’s side conceded three late goals to lose after being in command and the boss admitted the injuries sustained in the second-half affected his side.

“The harsh thing is we get 2-1 up and I’ve got to make two changes – Jack and Marlon going off,’’ he said.

“Then Darren Holden had to go off too, far from ideal. We don’t carry loads of numbers and been pretty lucky injury wise this year.

“Sweens looks like it won’t be pretty, Jack has, as Marlon, a chance for the weekend.

“I can’t do anything if someone is struggling with pain.

“Mansfield changed system and we had to change across the pitch and it’s not ideal throwing three on at once.’’ Cooper put teenage prospect Dan Jones on for Holden at left back for his debut and said: “Dan has bags of ability and a powerful left foot. He’s had a lot of injuries since I came here and I see things to work with, but he’s spent a bit too much time off the pitch and training ground.

“There’s ability there and might have a future, but it depends on how much time he spends on the pitch.’’ With seven games to go, Pools have a nine-point gap up to the play-offs. While they had a good chance of making it, recent results have seen them lose ground.

“The play-offs, let’s see what happens,’’ reflected Cooper. “You can’t lose two on the bounce and not take much from a run of away games and expect to be in amongst it.

“You can’t rely on just winning at home as that might not always happen.’’

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