Hartlepool Utd boss open minded to captaincy

Colin Cooper and Craig Hignett in Holland
Colin Cooper and Craig Hignett in Holland

COLIN Cooper has revealed that the Hartlepool United captaincy is up for grabs as they enter the new season.

Pools take on Telstar in Holland today (kick-off 3pm, local time) in the final friendly of their summer tour.

Beaten 3-1 by Almere City on Thursday night, it was Antony Sweeney who led the team out in Heiloo.

Last season’s skipper, Peter Hartley, had also started the game and resumed armband duties once Sweeney had departed in the second half.

Hartley replaced former captain Sam Collins in October of last year and retained the responsibility following the arrival of John Hughes in November.

But Cooper – installed as Hughes’ replacement in May – is open minded as to the identity of his captain.

“We’ve not made any decisions on the captaincy,” the Pools chief told SportMail today.

“We’ve got some really good experienced pros in the club with the likes of Neil Austin and Sam Collins.

“Tony (Sweeney) knows Hartlepool through and through and so does Peter.

“So I’d say the captaincy is up for grabs.

“Whoever wants it bad enough, it’s there for them.

“We’ve got a lot of good pros who would count themselves as leaders.

“So we’ll see how things go over the next couple of weeks and make a decision is due course.”

It is thought Cooper’s captain will come from one of those names mentioned above, with midfielder Simon Walton – formerly skipper of Plymouth Argyle – the only other candidate.

That is, unless, Cooper’s signs a new captain over the coming weeks with the boss still keen to bolster his ranks ahead of the new season which kicks off at Rochdale on August 3.