Cooper will name his new assistant soon

The Northern Echo: BACK TO IT: Hartlepool United limber up during training after returning for pre-season this week. Picture: ANDY LAMB BACK TO IT: Hartlepool United limber up during training after returning for pre-season this week. Picture: ANDY LAMB

COLIN COOPER is ready to confirm the identity of his new assistant manager in the next couple of days.

The Hartlepool United boss has been working without a right-hand man since Craig Hignett left Victoria Park for Middlesbrough back in March.

The Pools squad were back in training this week and, before they head off to Spain for a week-long intensive pre-season workout, Cooper is set to be joined by his new man, with former Boro goalkeeping coach Stephen Pears expected to be confirmed.

“It’s hopefully done and he will soon be joining me – by the time we get to the end of this week,’’ confirmed Cooper. “It’s not something I’ve taken lightly. I’ve spoken to people, but I’m delighted with the choice.’’

Cooper has made two summer signings in Matthew Bates and Stuart Parnaby, and is looking at trialists Eugene Bopp, who played alongside Marlon Harewood at Nottingham Forest, and ex-Blackpool youth team centre-half Biko Bradnock-Brennan, who has been playing in America College football.

He is also out to add to his squad, with permanent or loan signings, with the hope of adding three or four more players.

“Biko is a centre-half, Eugene is technically very good and I’ve agreed to have a look at them,’’ said Cooper. “There’s a couple more I’ve got my eye on over the next couple of weeks, who may take part in our pre-season friendlies.

“You look at players all the time. You don’t want an influx all at once, because if you bring six trialists in, and we only take one we have still spent time with a lot of them.

“I will decide on these two and then others in the next few days.

“Biko played under Ian Holloway at Blackpool and my old mate Gary Parkinson looked after him in the youth team. He’s been in America and wants to come here and give it a go.’’

Cooper lost one player from his squad on Tuesday when James Poole decided not to take up the club’s contract offer.

The forward is pondering the possibility of playing abroad, with America and Australia among his options.

“I made him an offer and I threw him a challenge down at the end of last season,’’ said Cooper. “I think for his time here, his numbers and statistics prove he hasn’t been consistent enough.

“I didn’t feel all season he was right and played catch-up after a pre-season injury. I saw an awful lot of talent there and I made what I felt was a fair offer.

“It’s his choice to go. I spoke at length with him on Tuesday and I wish him well.

“It gives me the opportunity to get someone in who, with respect to James, could be better.’’

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