COLIN Cooper has revealed he is looking to add a further four new signings to his Hartlepool United squad in the coming weeks.
Defensive duo Matthew Bates and Stuart Parnaby are the first of the summer arrivals at Victoria Park.
But boss Cooper is not resting on his laurels in looking to further strengthen the squad, which he admits is short on numbers.
Speaking on the second day back of pre-season, Cooper said he is looking to the loan and permanent markets ahead of the opening match against Stevenage on Saturday, August 9.
The transfer window remains open until the end of August – a situation Cooper described as a ‘debacle’ – but he will be patient in his pursuit for the right footballers and characters to enhance the squad.
Cooper told SportMail: “If you look at the player’s I have at my disposal this week and next week in Spain, with a couple of trialists and one or two younger players, that will still only give me 22.
“We are low numerically but the one thing we all know about football is a - the transfer window doesn’t close until the end of August and b - if you are looking at long-term loan deals then their parent clubs won’t release them
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for probably another two to three weeks yet.
“I’m hoping that by the time we get to the start of the season, I will have another three of four players in, to add to what I already have.
“That will give us, I think, a pretty good number because what you want is a good solid 15 to 16 players.
“Then if you have four or five others that you can rely on to stick on the bench or on the pitch then you are happy.”
Cooper added: “Whatever happens, the most important thing is August 9 and beyond because of this transfer window debacle – how you can’t have your squad fully in place before the season kicks off is ridiculous.
“But that is just my opinion. Every football manager will be looking to see what is available and there is an awful lot of footballers without clubs.
“I am still talking to people but I’d like to think we’ll have another three or four in before we kick off.”
Joining Bates, Parnaby and the rest of the squad at Maiden Castle this week are two trialists – Biko Bradnock-Brennan and midfielder Eugen Bopp, 30.
Ukranian-born Bopp – who has represented Germany at Under 19 level – has previously played for Nottingham Forest, Rotherham United and York City.
Meanwhile, Irish-born pacy defender Bradnock-Brennan has previously played youth level at Blackpool, under Ian Holloway and Gary Parkinson, and has more recently spent time in America at Charlotte University.
Cooper told SportMail: “I have agreed to let these two lads come in and I have my eye on another couple of trialists that I may try and bring in over the next couple of weeks, who may play a part in our pre-season friendlies.
“You never know, turn the clock back 12-months and, hey presto, Michael Duckworth popped up.
“I will look at these two over the course of the next few days and then decide what is happening.”
Cooper added: “Marlon Harewood knew Biko and I was aware of him and he played under Ian Holloway as a very young boy and my old mate Gary Parkinson looked after him as a kid.
“He has been over in the States at Charlotte University and has had a lot of positive reviews and he wants to come back and give it a go.”
Meanwhile, Pools are finally expected to announce who Cooper’s new assistant manager will be by the end of the week.
The former Boro defender has been without a right-hand man since March when Craig Hignett left the club to become assistant to Aitor Karanka at the Riverside.
Higgy had coached at the club’s academy at Rockliffe Park where Cooper had charge of the Under 18 squad.
While he was confirming no names, two of ex-boss Tony Mowbray’s backroom staff are understood to be available, Stephen Pears and Mark Proctor, who are both former Pools players and have been strongly linked.
Cooper said: “It is hopefully done and my new assistant will be joining me very quickly.
“I think by the time we get to the end of this week hopefully everything will be done.
“It is not something I have taken lightly, there have been people I have spoken to, but I am delighted,” added Cooper.