COLIN COOPER has confirmed that wantaway striker Luke James was not part of the Hartlepool United squad today because he has opted to stay away from the club.

Pools won for the first time of the season, 2-1 at Wimbledon, without their talented 19-year-old forward.

Goals from frontmen Marlon Harewood and Charlie Wyke secured the victory.

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James, amid interest from Peterborough, has submitted two transfer requests in the last week, the second coming after Tuesday’s defeat to Dagenham at Victoria Park.

Posh’s bid has not been accepted by Pools. James has not been seen by anyone at the club since Tuesday’s defeat, failing to turn up for training on Thursday and Friday for selection for today's game.

Cooper said: “Luke played against Dagenham last Tuesday. The squad had Wednesday off and I expected to see Luke at training on Thursday off.

“He didn’t turn up, didn’t let anyone know he wasn’t coming to work.

"He wasn't with us on Friday and the same today - he hasn’t turned in for training with the lads at Maiden Castle with the lads who weren’t part of the squad.

“I cannot answer for him, other than that he has chosen not to come into work.

“A lot has been said that I’m not happy about at all, but I cannot have a meeting with a player if he doesn’t turn up.’’

Pools and Cooper are also unhappy with a number of allegations made on a supporters internet message board and have  responded on that forum, with the club claiming they are considering legal action against the author of the points.