Colin Cooper in no rush to replace Andy Monkhouse at Hartlepool United

CHANCE: Jack Compton in action against Bristol Rovers. Picture by FRANK REID
CHANCE: Jack Compton in action against Bristol Rovers. Picture by FRANK REID

COLIN Cooper says he is in no rush to bring in cover for the injured Andy Monkhouse because there are squad players at the ready to step in.

Monkhouse pulled up after just 15 minutes of Saturday’s 4-0 win over Bristol Rovers with a hamstring injury to his left leg and the fear is he could miss up to three weeks.

The 33-year-old winger is still being assessed by the medical staff but the Pools manager says there is ample cover in the squad.

Jack Compton, who hasn’t started a game since Fleetwood Town away on January 18, impressed when he came on at the weekend and is now set for an extended run in the side.

The 25-year-old looked dangerous, pacy and direct and also provided the defence-splitting pass to Marlon Harewood before he was bundled to the floor for a penalty, converted by Simon Walton.

So while Cooper has options in midfield, his biggest worry is at the back.

Pools are relying on Sam Collins and on-loan Middlesbrough defender Christian Burgess avoiding injury and suspension between now and the end of the Sky Bet League Two campaign.

The Clarence Road club can’t avoid any more injuries at the

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back after confirmation Neil Austin has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign with a toe injury while Michael Duckworth continues to edge his way back to full fitness after suffering painful soft tissue damage.

The form of 20-year-old full-backs Jordan Richards and Darren Holden has helped ease Cooper’s defensive concerns but they remain short in the centre of defence.

Cooper told SportMail: “With all due respect to Andy [Monkhouse], I don’t think we need cover in that position.

“For me we are short in central defence.

“Michael Duckworth is coming back fit at right-back and we are okay at left back because we have young Dan Jones who has played at left-back in the first team and has huge potential.

“The centre halves though, I am really watchful of because we only have Sam and Christian.”

Next up for 10th-placed Pools is a trip to 6th-placed Oxford United and Cooper says if the worse does happen he has already spoken with chief executive Russ Green about bringing in short-term cover in central defence.

Cooper added: “The conversation I had was that if the worse does happen then I have three or four in line that I could bring in, in a short space of time.

“But I don’t want to bring people in as cover because Sam and Christian are in the team and playing well.

“If for instance though we had an injury on Friday night to either of those, then I would have to be very active on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday in order to make sure I had somebody in place before the next game.”

Pools - three points off the top seven - don’t play until Friday night but fellow play-off contenders Cheltenham (11th) play Wycombe Wanderers at home tonight, while 9th-placed Plymouth Argyle host table-toppers Chesterfield.a