HARTLEPOOL United embark on an important week, with boss Neale Cooper planning more changes.

Pools meet unbeaten Sheffield United at home tonight, and after the visit of Danny Wilson's side they go to Crewe, where they have already lost 5-0 this season.

Cooper was dejected as his side lost 3-1 at Colchester United at the weekend, a result which left them second bottom in League One.

The manager was critical of his defenders on Saturday, with Sam Collins or Peter Hartley dropped this evening as Jack Baldwin moves to centre-half after a couple of games at right-back.

"Personnel has to change in that area,'' said Cooper of his back four. "You can't just not watch the player in between you.

"Even the goals against Shrewsbury were straight through the middle.

"Jack Baldwin can move into the middle.

"He's 18 and plays with more of everything than our most experienced players. It must be hard work for him to play in that back four.

"He's different class the boy and he'll have a big future.

"It's a credit to him that he kept playing like he did.''

As well as praising Baldwin, goalkeeper Scott Flinders was the only other player to get pass marks from Cooper on Saturday.

"Scott gives the back four cover - but God, I wouldn't like to play behind them right now,'' he said.

"But Scott's excellent. He came out and made some great saves and good takes.

"He's someone when I came in last season I gave him praise every game because I thought he was outstanding.

"The players were saying 'oh, he's the gaffer's boy, Scottie', but I don't give two monkeys, he deserves the praise and he's been outstanding for me.

"He's got a big future ahead of him, wherever it is.

"But it must be torture not getting the support from the boys in front of him.''

Pools have a goal difference of minus eight and Cooper admitted: "I have to change personnel at the back - I can't watch that again, it's torture.

"I've given them chances and given them the benefit of the doubt.

"I've spoken to them individually but it's like they've never played that position.

"So it's got to change, put Jack in the middle and pull Neil Austin back in at full-back.''

Cooper watched Sunderland's Under-21 side against Manchester United last night, with centre-half Louis Laing on his checklist.