Pools keep James in check

NEALE Cooper admits Hartlepool United are wary of overloading teenage talent Luke James.

The 17-year-old has been back in the squad for the last three games, after missing seven matches with a back strain, brought on by growing pains.

Last week, Cooper said James was unlikely to travel for the Good Friday game at Colchester, wary of the problems which could be brought on by spending in excess of ten hours on the team coach.

Instead, he played for the last 20 minutes and, in a 30 minute appearance in the Bank Holiday Monday draw with Brentford, gave Pools some attacking impetus.

He will be in contention for Saturday's home game with Chesterfield, when Pools are desperate to start scoring amid a run of just two goals in eight games.

"Luke was on the bench on Monday, he travelled on Friday and we played well at Colchester, caused them problems,'' said Cooper. "Thinking about bringing Luke in for Monday, would we have gone in a four man midfield and lost Paul Murray?

"He had a big job to do against Sam Saunders who sits in there.

"Luke added something to the team, he is still getting looked after carefully. We don't want to kill him, but he looks lively.''

Pools are back in training tomorrow after having a couple of days off following the double Easter programme.

Cooper said: "A couple of the boys are doing their coaching badges this week, so we give them all a wee break. It's been a hard schedule.

"I couldn't ask for more, scoring apart. Workrate is first-class. We defended well and we need players with character to score and that's what we are lacking.

"Ryan Noble can do it, but it's not happening for him yet. Someone with experience for him or Luke to play off would be good.''

Three of Pools' scholars are to sign professional forms - centre-half Nathan Buddle, midfielder Greg Rutherford and defender / midfielder Darren Holden.

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