WITH the January transfer window now firmly shut Hartlepool United gaffer Colin Cooper insists he is happy with the players he has signed, writes Richard Mennear.
While disappointed to lose star defender Jack Baldwin on deadline day to Peterborough United in a deal worth potentially £750,000 to Pools.
The gaffer said he was delighted to capture the signings of three new players, while the Baldwin deal also gives the Sky Bet League Two club leeway in terms of further loan signings.
Cooper said the impact of his signings since taking over the reigns at Victoria Park are proof the management team, including assistant Craig Hignett, know a good player when they see one.
In January, experienced striker Marlon Harewood, 34, was signed on a permanent deal, while Pools also managed to bring in loan stars Luke Williams, 20, from neighbours Middlesbrough and Jack Barmby, 19, a forward from Manchester United.
All three have impressed in their first appearances in the blue and white of Pools, with the highly-rated loan stars in particular, grabbing the headlines.
Cooper has gone on the record saying he would love to extend the deals beyond the initial month but said discussions will have to take place with their parent clubs.
“I am happy with the business in the window in terms of players coming in,” said Cooper.
“With all due respect, with what happened to Jack on deadline day, it just allows us a little bit more leeway to maybe bring in a loan or two if we need to.
“The finances were pretty tight, having brought Marlon, Luke and Jack in.
“We have to speak to Middlesbrough and Manchester United because I’d like to keep them both here but it just gives us a little bit more leeway in case we need to bring in one or two more in the loan window to bolster us, to try and find something that may make us better.”
Williams has started all three matches and been man of the match in two of them, while Barmby came off the bench to score a wonderstrike in his Pools and Football League debut in the 2-0 win over York City.
Trimdon-born Cooper also believes the three signings plus those players signed on permanent or loan deals or promoted to the first team since the summer have all made a positive impression.
Right-back Michael Duckworth and Boro loan signings Christian Burgess and Matty Dolan, who has since left, have all impressed, while youth player Brad Walker has also made the step-up to the first team this season and been rewarded with two call ups to an England Under-18 training camp.
Winger Jack Compton has also impressed on occasions but needs to be more consistent, while Nialle Rodney is yet to make an impression in the first-team.
Cooper added: “I’d like to think that the people we have brought into the football club have all proved that I know what I’m talking about, and Craig as well.
“Everyone that we have brought in has been an asset so far and long may that continue, because if we keep bringing in decent players we might be alright.”
- RICHARD MENNEAR