NEALE Cooper admits the decision to allow Stephen Wright to exit Hartlepool United was made on two fronts.

Pools are not short of options at centre-half and, with Sam Collins and Peter Hartley firmly established as the club's first-choice pairing, Cooper is out to improve his squad in other areas.

The Pools boss is out to add to his attacking options and, allowing Wright's short-term deal to run out, gives him scope for change.

Wright's last appearance came in November and he has been struggling with an Achilles problem ever since. The former Liverpool and Sunderland defender is fit now and will continue to train with the squad until he finds a new club.

"Stephen is a difficult one, he's been injured since I came here and he is still training with us, so there's no animosity of anything like that,'' said Cooper.

"But I have been told that if I am to bring people in then I have to make sure funds are available and I've got centre-halves.

"It's up front where we have been trying and I have to get the money. Gary Liddle can play there, Jack Baldwin, Steve Haslam, so it's not a desperate position.

"Stephen is a good pro and a pleasure to have here, we get on well.''

Cooper was impressed by Baldwin's maturity in Wednesday's reserve game at Gateshead. The teenager played centre-half, after being used in the first-team recently in midfield.

"Jack is a centre-half and a good one, he was superb on Wednesday and that's his job,'' said Cooper. "He has to be aware of what's around him at times, he read the game well, distribution was good. He's like a young Alan Hansen.

"That's the biggest compliment I can pay somebody. He was captain on Wednesday and went about his job.''

Colin Nish returned from injury in midweek, but is still some way short of fitness, while James Poole is again likely to miss out tomorrow against Carlisle with a hamstring strain.