NEALE Cooper last night backed Adam Boyd to continue the form which helped propel Hartlepool United into the play-offs last season.

Pool meet Bradford City at Victoria Park in tomorrow's League One opener and Boyd is sure to be part of the starting XI.

Twelve months ago Boyd wasn't even among the 16 on duty in the thrilling 4-3 win at Peterborough.

But the home-grown forward now has his name etched on Cooper's teamsheet every week.

And, after bagging 12 goals in ten games to push Pool into the top six last season, Cooper is confident the 22-year-old can carry on from where he left off.

Cooper, who has taken Barnsley's Kevin Besty on trial this week, said: "Boydy has come back with the same attitude he had last season, he has been way up there with the best of them in the fitness tests.

"I told him at the end of the season he had to come back that way and he has done.

"I think Adam has now become a true professional in every sense of the word.

"The penny has dropped. He is a great boy, a tremendous boy and it's great for him and the town.''

Boyd's days at Victoria Park looked numbered when he went on loan to Boston.

But, after playing 14 successive games at York Street, he returned home and immediately impressed Cooper and right-hand man Martin Scott.

Boyd was joined in the side for the thrilling run-in by Antony Sweeney, another youth team product whose time at Pool looked to be coming to a close.

Cooper admitted: "Last season the likes of Sweeney, Provett and Boyd came from nowhere and Mark Tinkler got better and better as the season went on.

"He was injured early on, but once he was over it, he came back and was immense.

"Him and Sweens in the middle of the park was a great partnership. Sweens' positional play could be better at times, but he knows it and is working on it.

"His performances in big games were impressive and he kept the likes of Strachan and Clarke out. Having that presence in the middle is important.''

Besty trained with Pool at their Durham training ground for the first time yesterday.

He is initially at Pool on a two-week trial, but is likely to become Cooper's second signing for the new campaign in Coca Cola League One.

The former Fulham man is available on a free after being omitted from Paul Hart's pre-season plans.

"Training went very well,'' he said. "The lads are preparing for Saturday's game and I've come in at short notice, so obviously it is a bit strange.

"But they are a good bunch of lads and I could tell straight away there is a very good team spirit at the club.

"It's very important and I think that has helped them do so well last season when they reached the play-offs - they are good players and gel together well.

"The only player here I knew beforehand was Chris Westwood, I've known him a few years through friends and I know he's a good defender.''

Pool are believed to have plans to turn his trial period into a loan spell or a permanent contract, once he proves his fitness.

Besty has spent pre-season at Oakwell, but hasn't kicked a ball for the club, after new boss Paul Hart signed a welter of players during the close season.

Despite playing over 50 games last season and netting 11 times, he hasn't been given a squad number by Hart.

Cooper's only other summer recruit, Jack Ross, is set for his debut at right-back in place of Micky Barron, who had a second hernia operation this week.

l Bradford have sold their 980 ticket allocation for tomorrow's game and last night boss Colin Todd signed Middlesbrough goalkeeper Ross Turnbull - who is likely to feature at Victoria Park - on loan.