COLIN Cooper admits that Hartlepool United are in need of “quality” additions following his assessment of the squad during the tour of Holland.
The 46-year-old and his players returned to England this morning having signed off from their six-day stay with a goalless draw against Telstar on Saturday.
Cooper spent the week taking a thorough look at the playing resources which he inherited.
And, while he has been encouraged by the attitude and application of those men, he believes that added quality is required, especially in the final third.
Pools scored just once in the Netherlands from their two matches and, for the large part, failed to carve clear-cut chances.
Cooper is well aware of the team’s problems in front of goal last term and, ever since his unveiling in May, has talked of addressing those issues.
But now, having spent a fortnight getting to know the current playing staff at close quarters, he has returned his verdict to SportMail.
“Now we’re back in England, Craig (Hignett) and myself have some decisions to make and we’ll look at it today and say ‘can we improve upon what we’ve got?’,” said Cooper.
“We will be fresh making phone calls again today and tomorrow and, if we feel the right thing is to add to the squad, then that’s what we’ll do.
“On the whole, we’ve been pleasantly surprised and the younger boys have done themselves no harm whatsoever.
“But we also need to think ‘okay, what will make us different from anyone else in League Two?’.
“To give ourselves a chance we’ve got to be honest and say we need more quality.
“That’s the job for myself and Craig to find that.”
Goals – or a lack of them – have long since been a concern at Victoria Park.
And, on the evidence of the two matches in Holland, it is an issue which will not be resolved without new arrivals.
Cooper is conscious of as much.
“The way you win games is by nullifying the opposition and then creating chances to score,” he went on.
“Over the two games we scored one goal and created a few chances, but we didn’t look as if we’re going to cut people open.
“That’s the area we have to work at.
“These 22 lads here have the first shot at it, and I’ve told them that, but, if we’re honest, we’ll be looking to add quality to the starting team.
“We have a lot of lads who are willing to help the team but we need to get those players into scoring positions.
“That is something we can work on and it will probably be an area myself and Craig will look to strengthen.”