Austin will be Hartlepool Utd’s emergency goalie against Swindon

Neil Austin puts pressure on a Crewe striker during the second half. Picture by FRANK REID

Neil Austin puts pressure on a Crewe striker during the second half. Picture by FRANK REID

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HARTLEPOOL United are still working to bring in a back-up goalkeeper on the eve of the League One season – with defender Neil Austin the man who would don the gloves in an emergency, writes CRAIG HOPE.

The pre-season knee injury to netminder Andy Rafferty has left Pools without a recognised No.2 to Scott Flinders.

Youth-team Dominic Scott deputised for Flinders during the summer tour of Holland when he fell foul of a thigh strain.

But, with the league campaign set to kick off against Swindon Town tomorrow, manager Neale Cooper admits that a reserve stopper is needed.

“We’ll just have to wait, but it’s something we need,” he said.

“Neil Austin will go in goal if anything happens.

“I thought Sam (Collins), being bigger, but Aussie said he’d fancy it.

“But it’s something we’re looking at and we need someone in because Dominic will be playing for the youth team.”

Elsewhere, Cooper could recall James Poole in place of Luke James for the visit of The Robins.

The former replaced the latter at half-time during last weekend’s 5-0 defeat at Crewe Alexandra, and Cooper went on: “I think Poolie’s done well – but am I being unfair on Luke?

“You look at last week, that wasn’t Luke, he just looked a wee bit out of sorts.

“But there are a few lads pushing for a place and I’ve got a couple of decisions to make.”

Pools (probable): Flinders; Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood; Franks, Walton, Sweeney, Monkhouse; Poole, Howard. Subs: Baldwin, Humphreys, Murray, James, Luscombe, Nish, Holden.