Hartlepool Utd boss to decide on strikers to get win at Colchester

Craig Lynch makes a forward run in the second half for Pools. Picture by FRANK REID
Craig Lynch makes a forward run in the second half for Pools. Picture by FRANK REID

NEALE Cooper will have some decisions to make this weekend when it comes to the attacking personnel charged with getting at managerless Colchester United.

The U’s – who sacked boss John Ward this week – are low on confidence after a run of nine without victory this season and they currently lie the wrong side of the League One trapdoor.

Pools have not fared much better so far this term and only last weekend’s 90th-minute leveller in the 2-2 draw with Shrewsbury Town kept them out of the drop zone.

The last-minute saviour against The Shrews was Andy Monkhouse, the winger who, along with Simon Walton and Neil Austin, had been dropped in response to the 5-0 defeat at Preston North End.

He is now pressing for a recall for the trip to Essex, but the man who replaced him on Saturday, Sunderland loanee Craig Lynch, has also won praise from Cooper today, as he told SportMail: “I thought Craig did well and was better on the left.

“He’s not really a boy who will go by full-backs, but he likes to cut inside and play those little killer passes through, which he did a couple of times.

“He had a great strike in the second half as well which was saved.

“On the whole it seemed like we were going to create more chances and we were just a little bit more mobile in attack.”

But Monkhouse’s impact, executing a stunning volley to salvage a point, did not go unnoticed and Cooper admits that was the response he was craving from the Yorkshireman.

“That’s the reaction I was after,” the Scot went on.

“It’s not out of badness that those boys weren’t playing, I just felt that I had to change it.

“Andy’s played wide left, wide right and centre-forward for me, but I just felt he had to do better.

“I spoke to him and explained that I wanted to change it.

“When we play a four in midfield Andy doesn’t get down the line enough, but he does well when he comes inside, especially from the right.

“I had no issues putting him on, though, and I was delighted when he got his goal.

“That’s a good sub to come on and he made an impact.”

If Monkhouse were to return, Cooper could well revert to a 4-5-1 system with striker James Poole making way.

He was partnered with Steve Howard in attack last weekend, but the pair have just one goal between them this campaign.

Cooper, though, still insists that the supply line must improve.

“Craig and Jon (Franks) still have to do better with their crosses for Stevie,” he went on.

“Stevie thrives off balls into the box and a lot of times he’s stretching to get on to things, rather than running on to crosses.

“He guides our players in with his knock downs, which is fantastic, but we’re working with Jon and Craig to improve the balls in for him.

“At set-plays as well our balls in have to be better, they’re too floated at times.

“But there were lots of good things going forward last weekend and it gives us something to build on going to Colchester.”