Andy Monkhouse won’t be rushed back for Hartlepool United

PAINFUL MOMENT: Andy Monkhouse pulls up after stretching for the ball against Bristol Rovers. Picture by FRANK REID

PAINFUL MOMENT: Andy Monkhouse pulls up after stretching for the ball against Bristol Rovers. Picture by FRANK REID

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ANDY Monkhouse is back on his two feet – but he won’t be rushed back onto the field until he is 100 per cent.

The Hartlepool United star has missed the last three games after suffering a hamstring strain in the 4-0 win over Bristol Rovers.

It is perhaps no coincidence Pools have lost three since the exit of the 32-year-old.

Cooper recognises the contribution of Monkhouse but says the Yorkshireman will only resume when the player feels he is ready.

“Andy Monkhouse is back running again,” said Cooper, who is already without club captain Antony Sweeney (hamstring) and team skipper Neil Austin (toe) for the last six games of the season

“Is Andy ready?

“At the moment he is still sore – he has been jogging but he’s still feeling pain in his hamstring.

“But if you’ve had a grade two injury then that’s to be expected.”

Cooper says every individual recovers at a different pace and finds it frustrating when time scales are put on a player.

“You might be a fast healer and come back quickly,” said the boss.

“People like to see players back quicker and put it all into a time bracket.

“When that happens and people putting figures and numbers on injuries players think ‘I’m going to be out four weeks’.

“But why four weeks? It could be three weeks or two. It’s down to the player.

“If you are still feeling pain

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then you have a damaged muscle.

“If you are still in pain then you have to step back.

“But if you are not feeling pain then carry on to the next level.”

Neither Sweeney nor Austin will be seen in blue and white again this season.

Austin has had a successful operation on the toe he damaged making a vital block in the draw with Scunthorpe.

“Neil has had his operation – and thankfully has proved better than we hoped,” said Cooper.

“The whole bone isn’t cracked, there’s just a loose fragment, which is obviously where the pain has been coming from.”

Sweeney, meanwhile, suffered a serious hamstring injury late in the 4-2 defeat by Mansfield.

“Sweens had an ultra-sound scan which showed his was a grade two as well, so we’ll be lucky if we see him before the end of the season.