Hartlepool Utd sign Middlesbrough utility man David Atkinson on loan

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HARTLEPOOL United will have another Middlesbrough loanee in the squad against Portsmouth with utility man David Atkinson to sign on loan until Christmas, writes RICHARD MENNEAR.

The 21-year-old Boro youth, who can play in defence or midfield, is training with Pools and Colin Cooper is set to sign him on loan until December.

Atkinson will be the fifth player on loan at Pools and squads can have a maximum of five loan players on a match day.

Pools already have Middlesbrough duo Charlie Wyke and Ryan Brobbel, Sunderland defender Scott Harrison and Newcastle United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman temporarily on their books.

Atkinson’s arrival will also add to the strong Boro contingent at Victoria Park, with Matthew Bates, Stuart Parnaby and Jonathan Franks there along with Brad Walker, who played for Boro as a youngster.

Meanwhile, Stephen Pears, who played for both Boro and Pools, is the club’s goalkeeping coach and assistant manager.

Cooper - a former Boro player and coach himself - has also revealed he is chasing “three or four strikers” as he continues his bid to bring much-needed additions into the squad.

Even though the transfer window is closed, Pools can still sign unattached players, while the loan market remains open.

The deal for Atkinson is yet to be confirmed but speaking at the club’s Maiden Castle training base, Cooper said: “I have been really busy this week and have got David Atkinson in from Middlesbrough.

“He is a very good young player, a centre-half, full-back, midfield, wherever you want to play him and he is ready for this now.

“He has had a rough time with injuries but is a terrific footballer, he is built like a brick outhouse but will do a good job for us.

“David was another one that I spoke to in pre-season and he played against us in pre-season for Middlesbrough.

“He had a good end to the season and a good start to pre-season and was up around their first team until fairly recently.”

While Atkinson is expected to be in the squad for the weekend visit of Portsmouth, Cooper remains on the hunt on for reinforcements up front.

He said the club – which sold Luke James to Peterborough United on deadline day – has scope to bring in new signings but said the Sky Bet League Two side will continue to work within its means.

Cooper added: “I have three of four strikers on the bubble in the background but it is about getting them through the door.

“The phone has been very busy - it is a case of when you can get them, how can you get them and I’d like to think we can but it is sometimes frustrating and has to be a game of patience.

“From very early on, I got the Financial Fair Play. We work within our means and it’s important we do as a club.

“But we do have some scope now and it’s important to use it – either now or in January.

“We haven’t broken any rules and we don’t need to.

“We have money and, in my opinion, we need to use it for the best effect of the football club, not just the team but the club.

“Today, tomorrow, January or beyond I feel we need to.”