HANDS OFF: Colin Cooper will resist any offers for Hartlepool United star players

Scott Flinders in action against Southend United. Picture by FRANK REID
Scott Flinders in action against Southend United. Picture by FRANK REID

COLIN Cooper says he will resist any approach which threatens to disrupt the core of the Hartlepool United side he is attempting to build.

While admitting he and the club will have to listen to all offers which land at Victoria Park, the boss insists he would be “loathe” to lose the players he describes as the “basis” of his Pools project.

And, to that end, Cooper is determined to retain the talents of Scott Flinders, Jack Baldwin, Brad Walker and Luke James.

“There are a lot of people who like one or two of our younger players but I would be loathe to let them go,” the 46-year-old told SportMail ahead of tomorrow’s trip to York City (kick-off 3pm).

“If the phone rings, as we’re doing with players we’re targeting, then you have to sit down and listen.

“If someone calls and says x,y and z, then you have to have the conversation and listen because it might affect how you can then do things.

“But, as of now, my phone has not gone asking about anyone and I would not like to think that our better players will be going anywhere.

“Scott falls into that category, Brad has been a revelation and Jack and Luke have both been courted over the past 18 months.

“But I would like to think they’re the basis around which we can build and no-one is going to leave.”

Pools sold defender Peter Hartley to Stevenage last week for a five-figure sum and, were there interest in some of the squad’s older members, then there could yet be further outgoings.

Cooper is desperate to bring in both a central-midfielder and centre-forward before September 2 and this week ran the rule over several targets.

There has been talk of a pair of Fulham youngsters arriving at the Vic while Middlesbrough’s Matty Dolan is also a definite target.

But the situation remains the same in that the Pools chief has limited funds with which to operate, as he explained: “I saw a lot of things I liked this week and took in a lot of matches.

“We were looking at the younger element and there is a lot of talent out there, in the North-East and beyond.

“But it becomes a financial issue – can we nick them for nothing or do they want a contribution?

“The Premier League clubs like the idea of their players going out on loan but gone are the days when that’s for nothing.

“We don’t have a lot of leeway in that respect.

“But if younger players come on youth loans then that would not affect our FFP.

“That might be the avenue we have to go down but we’re looking at permanents and loans.

“We’ve got conversations going on with lots of clubs which will continue until September 2.

“If we want to raise standards we have to bring the right players in, that means quality not quantity.

“It can be frustrating and it’s difficult, but hopefully we’ll see one or two before September.”