Colin Cooper could turn to Luke James in bid to solve Hartlepool United goalscoring problem

Luke James in action against Torquay United. Picture by FRANK REID
Luke James in action against Torquay United. Picture by FRANK REID

COLIN Cooper is set to reintroduce Luke James to his starting XI as Hartlepool United go in search of goals.

Pools have just one strike to their name so far this season, a late consolation during the 3-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest in the League Cup.

That leaves them as the only Football League club without a league goal, their latest blank coming during Saturday’s stalemate at Torquay United.

Cooper, though, was heartened by the performance of James after his half-time introduction at Plainmoor.

The Pools boss had earlier in the week watched a DVD re-run of last season’s 1-0 win at Tranmere Rovers, a match in which James was afforded a standing ovation from the home crowd.

And Cooper believes the 18-year-old must strive to rediscover that form.

“I spoke to Luke about a game he played against Tranmere, I’ve gone back and watched that DVD,” he revealed ahead of tonight’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy visit of Bradford City (kick-off 7pm).

“He was a constant menace that day.

“What he did for us in the second half on Saturday was exactly the same, putting defenders under pressure.

“Then, when we’ve got the ball, he was running in behind them.

“He got away on the shoulder for a chance from Matty Dolan’s pass but, unfortunately, the finish wasn’t quite there.

“But that was a really good 45-minute display from him and he deserved that.”

Cooper is as much impressed with James’ attitude and application as he is his football ability.

And that could see him win a stay in the side.

“That Tranmere game was more about his enthusiasm and work-rate because he only had one shot on goal,” said the 46-year-old.

“I think he’s a smashing young man and will be a good footballer for Hartlepool in the future.

“He really has been working hard and he’s eager to learn.

“We’ve sent him away to watch DVDs of the matches and asked him to think more about his movement.

“He has that willingness to improve and that’s what you want in young players.”