Hartlepool Utd boss challenges star to raise his game

James Poole gets in a shot in the first half against Oldham. Picture by FRANK REID

James Poole gets in a shot in the first half against Oldham. Picture by FRANK REID

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NEALE Cooper has warned James Poole he must raise his game or risk being dropped from the Hartlepool United starting line-up.

The Pools boss was frustrated with his side’s display during Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at home to Oldham Athletic and he was especially vexed with the performance of his seven-goal top marksman.

Poole was making just his third start under Cooper having been sidelined since Christmas with a hamstring problem only to suffer a thigh strain upon his return earlier this month.

But the first-team coach nonetheless feels the 22-year-old should be offering more, despite his lay-off.

“Pooley has to do better, it was all a bit one-paced with him and maybe that’s because he’s been out for a while,” said Cooper.

“But when they’re out injured they still work hard with the physios.

“You should be fit in this day and age because you work that hard during rehab so when you do come back you can step in when asked.

“It’s not like when I played when you did nothing when you were injured and it would take four or five games to get back into it.

“But he didn’t look sharp and was just jogging.

“We can’t carry people like that and I said that after the game.

“Maybe I’m expecting too much, but that’s what I’m like.”

Full story in Thursday’s Mail