“Born winner” Paul Murray to spearhead Neale Cooper’s Pools revival

Paul Murray turns away from a Notts County player to pass the ball. Picture by FRANK REID
Paul Murray turns away from a Notts County player to pass the ball. Picture by FRANK REID
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MR Dependable Paul Murray is set to spearhead Hartlepool United’s revival after Neale Cooper labelled his veteran midfielder “a born winner”.

The Pools chief has questioned the reliability of his players in recent weeks, confessing that he doesn’t know what he’ll get from several when they cross the white line.

Murray, however, guarantees a whole-hearted return, says Cooper, and the 36-year-old will now be charged with the task of leading Pools from their early-season malaise.

Indeed, the Cumbrian was man-of-the-match during Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Scunthorpe United, a game which marked his first start of the campaign.

And Cooper told SportMail: “Paul’s attitude has been spot on.

“He’s never come moaning to me when he’s been out of the side, not once, and he’s just got on with things.

“He was superb on Saturday.

“On the pitch he talks and he issues the orders, but backs it up with his game as well.

“He shows composure, aggression – he’s not the biggest or quickest – and gets the ball down.

“He’s a born winner and the sort of boy you can rely on.

“You will always get your lot from Paul Murray.”

He went on: “As Paul left on Saturday I said to him ‘well done out there’ and shook his hand.

“But it’s his attitude in training as well – he’s been leading the way in running and he’ll always give his lot in everything he does.

“He was 36 last week but credit to him – he’s a fit boy, a good professional and always wants the ball.

“I always wonder if he can play in a midfield four but on Saturday he did well in there.”

Murray’s return to the side came at the expense of summer signing Simon Walton.

Cooper had called for more from the 24-year-old in the wake of last month’s defeat at Notts County, but the Scot took the decision to drop him to the bench for the visit of The Iron.

And the Pools boss reflected: “Was it a tough decision? No, not after Notts County.

“Simon needs to do better, but I’ve said my piece on that.

“We all know what’s needed. Maybe Simon isn’t happy at not playing, but I expect that and that’s fine.”