Hartlepool Utd boss insists Scott Flinders is not for sale

Colin Cooper in the dugout during the game against Middlesborough FC.
Colin Cooper in the dugout during the game against Middlesborough FC.

COLIN Cooper insists he will reject ALL offers which land at Victoria Park for goalkeeper Scott Flinders.

The Pools boss is adamant that the 27-year-old will form the cornerstone of his team heading into the League Two season.

Flinders’ latest display of excellence came during Saturday’s goalless draw with Middlesbrough in which he kept out a second-half penalty and produced a string of top-drawer saves.

The Pools No.1 swept the board when it came to last season’s annual honours and has long since been the subject of interest from higher plains.

Cooper accepts as much, but told SportMail that he will resist any approach for his star player.

“If I’m a scout watching that game (on Saturday) from any club in the Championship or League One, I’d be picking the phone up to see about having a dabble on Scott Flinders, but it’s not going to happen,” he declared.

“He is an integral part – THE integral part – of the team.

“To have a goalkeeper of that ability we’re very lucky.

“If we start with a good goalkeeper and build from there then we might be okay.

“So if anyone makes a phone call today, tomorrow or any time in the next three weeks then the answer is no.”

Flinders thwarted Lucas Jutkiewicz from the penalty spot 17 minutes from time and denied the same player on at least five occasions as Boro cut through their hosts at will after the break.

And Cooper accepts such reliance on the netminder is not healthy.

“Scott was absolutely superb but moving forward you cannot rely on your goalkeeper to have a performance like that every week, we’ll be in trouble if we do,” he went on.

“I don’t mind a bit of naïvety from young players but we need to defend better as a team to stop opponents creating that many chances.

“There is a lot to work on going forward.

“I thought at times we did some nice things but at others Middlesbrough pushed and pulled us and created chances.

“We huffed and puffed at the other end but still need that bit more quality and that is what we’re working towards bringing in.”