Hartlepool Utd boss still searching for goals with Nialle Rodney deal set to be finalised

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

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

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COLIN Cooper is still searching for the formula to solve Hartlepool United’s goalscoring conundrum - but trialist Nialle Rodney is set to sign.

The Pools boss inherited a side which were the lowest scorers in the Football League last season.

He has since added winger Jack Compton and now looks set to complete a deal for Rodney, the striker who has spent the summer training at Maiden Castle.

And Cooper admits that improving the team’s goal threat is his prime objective.

“Listen, it’s no secret where we need to improve and that remains the case,” he told SportMail ahead of this evening’s final pre-season friendly at home to Preston North End (kick-off 7pm).

“Creating chances comes from all ways.

“We have two positive wide men in Jack Compton and Jon Franks who want the centre-forwards to get into the box and pockets of space.

“It’s then up to the wingers to be positive, be productive and get around full-backs, get beyond them and get crosses into the box.

“Then we head to the box and support them.

“The other way is someone like James Poole who can play in behind the strikers, in little pockets of space and he can create things.

“So I do see signs of things happening and we are getting there, but we’re still looking to add quality to them.

“If we can add that bit of quality to the players who are giving us their all then it will raise their bar as well.”

Luke James looks set to lead the line this evening and heading into the new season at Rochdale a week tomorrow.

And Cooper believes there is more to come from the 18-year-old.

“Luke looked lively last Saturday against Middlesbrough but we need to give him help to get into scoring positions,” said the Pools chief.

“He got himself in a couple of nice positions but slipped at crucial times.

“If you’re someone like Luke with that ability to isolate defenders then you have to make sure that they’re the ones slipping on their backsides.

“But he’s worked hard this summer and is the sort of player who can make things happen for himself and for others.”