Hartlepool Utd hope Howard and Flinders star at Telstar

Bristol City v Sheffield Wednesday.....Steve Howard
Bristol City v Sheffield Wednesday.....Steve Howard

COLIN Cooper is hoping that both Scott Flinders and Steve Howard feature against Telstar in Holland today.

The pair were the only senior players who did not figure during Thursday’s 3-1 defeat to Almere City in Heiloo.

Howard’s future at the club remains uncertain and his inclusion in the party which travelled to the Netherlands came as something of a surprise.

The 37-year-old spent the back end of last season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday and a return to Hillsborough has been mooted, although SportMail understands that manager David Jones is considering alternative striking options.

A tracksuited Howard watched from the stands at the HSV Stadium on Thursday, although the reports are that he has trained well at the club’s Heiloo headquarters.

“Steve is here and he’s training hard, that was my advice to him,” Cooper told SportMail.

“He’ll take some part today.”

Flinders, meanwhile, is another who has been linked with a move away from Victoria Park.

The goalkeeper was outstanding last season and has long since been the subject or prying eyes from higher plains.

Despite completing the warm-up in Heiloo, it was deputy Andy Rafferty who played the full 90 minutes.

And Cooper explained: “Scott’s been really working really hard but just had a slight niggle.

“It was Andy’s chance on Thursday but hopefully Scott will be fit enough for today.”

Cooper is set to ring the changes for today’s game against the Dutch second-division outfit.

That should mean starts for the likes of Simon Walton, Andy Monkhouse and Luke James.

As Cooper went on: “We’ve got two games in less than three days and we want to give all of the lads some time on the pitch.

“We’ll give everyone an opportunity.

“We’ve been in the job a week or so and it gives us a good chance to get a little look at everybody.”