ON Saturday Hartlepool United manager Colin Cooper named the same starting 11 for the third consecutive match – but that will have to change for this weekend’s FA Cup game after defender Christian Burgess picked up his fifth booking of the season.
The on-loan Middlesbrough defender was booked in the 2-1 win over Dagenham & Redbridge and will now be forced to sit out Saturday’s First Round FA Cup tie against Notts County at Victoria Park, with a one-match suspension.
That could see Sam Collins come back into the side, although stand-in captain Neil Austin has also moved across from the left-back slot to play centre-half this season, so Cooper does have options.
Cooper admitted afterwards that the team had been picking itself in recent weeks but that changes will now have to be made.
Winger Jonathan Franks again retained his place in the starting line-up against the Daggers for the suspended Jack Compton.
But he has now served his three-match ban following his red card against Plymouth Argyle.
Cooper said: “Yes, of late, I can’t disagree that the team has picked itself but Christian now has five bookings so he can’t play against Notts County.
“Jack Compton also comes back into the reckoning because his suspension is over.
“We have to genuinely look at what threat Notts County pose us and we have to try and come up with the solutions and the answers that we can counter what they are doing and cause them some problems.”
James Poole, who was substituted for club captain Antony Sweeney in the 67th minute on Saturday, suffered a cut to his head after a challenge from Billy Bingham left the nippy forward with teeth marks in his head.
Cooper joked: “I think because it is Halloween, someone bit him. I don’t know whether their number 6 was a vampire.
“James will be fine. That wasn’t the reason we brought him off.
“We brought him off because he had put a lot into the game and scored a good goal but we felt that things were drifting.
“James likes to drift into pockets and link up with the team coming towards the ball, while we know Tony [Sweeney] will stretch teams going the other way.
“We felt that Sweens was the perfect man to get us a foothold back in the game and he came on and was terrific.
“He ran forward and created problems and chances and I thought he was just the opposite of what James was.
“We needed something like that to get back on the front foot.”