Hartlepool Utd recall duo for Doncaster Rovers clash

Steve Howard celebrates with team mates after scoring the equaliser against Sheffiel;d United.
Steve Howard celebrates with team mates after scoring the equaliser against Sheffiel;d United.

NEALE Cooper will happily recall Steve Howard and Paul Murray for tomorrow’s visit of Doncaster Rovers (kick off 3pm).

The Scot had this weekend’s League One game in mind when he rested his veteran duo for the midweek Johnstone’s Paint Trophy exit to Bradford City.

But the pair will both now return to the starting line-up against Donny.

“The pair of them have been carrying little niggles,” explained Cooper.

“In the case of Steve he’s had a bad shin, knee and back.

“But he goes out there and doesn’t moan, he gives it his lot.

“The same with Paul.

“People maybe thought I didn’t like Paul Murray when he wasn’t in the team at the start of the season – but that was never the case, I really like him.

“There’s a lot to like about him – he’s a winner.

“He’s getting to the later stages of his career but when he plays he gives me everything.”

Tony Sweeney, dropped for that visit of The Bantams, is also expected to return.

“I spoke with Tony before the Bradford game and he accepted my decision, in fact, I think he was relieved,” said Cooper.

“Sometimes when you step back from it you see something different, and when he came on he was like the old Sweeney.

“If I was in a battle I’d have him by my side.

“He’s just going through a tough time right now.

“But boys like him are what you want as a manager and maybe now he’s ready to pick up his form again.”

Simon Walton is certain to make way from the centre of midfield, while Middlesbrough loanee Charlie Wyke is also likely to start from the bench.

And, of the 19-year-old striker, Cooper added: “I spoke to him and he was tired after the game because he hasn’t played that much competitive football.

“He had a good game and he’ll do well for us but he’s still just 19.

“I’ll see what we do for the weekend, but Ryan (Noble) and Steve link well together.

“Ryan was very unlucky not to score three goals last weekend (at Crewe).”

Meanwhile, dropped captain Sam Collins played 90 minutes during the midweek reserve-team victory at Bury but will again be among the substitutes tomorrow.

“Sam got a full game and showed a good attitude,” reflected Cooper.

“That’s the way it is, he needed a game I felt.

“It’s not a punishment, not at all.

“We need all of our players to be fit and reserve-team games offer that chance.”

Andy Monkhouse (ankle) is missing, while Luke James (thigh) is rated as doubtful.

POOLS: Flinders; Austin, Hartley, Baldwin, Holden; Franks, Sweeney, Murray, Horwood; Howard, Noble. Subs: McHugh, Collins, Humphreys, Wyke, Poole, Walton, Richards