Neale Cooper closes in on Pools targets with former SAFC ace on radar

Neale Cooper shouts out his orders from the side line. Picture by FRANK REID
Neale Cooper shouts out his orders from the side line. Picture by FRANK REID

NEALE Cooper has narrowed his transfer trawl to three positions – and hopes to tie up at least one deal before the squad leave for Holland next week.

The Scot is behind his desk at Victoria Park today as he steps up his efforts to bring in fresh faces in time for the bulk of the pre-season programme.

And he told SportMail he is concentrating on just three areas – a central-midfielder, a left-winger and a centre-forward.

Leicester City’s Martyn Waghorn, the former Sunderland striker, is one potential target.

The 22-year-old joined the Foxes for a fee rising to £3m in 2010 but he has found first-team opportunity limited and a loan move could be in the offing for Pools.

The names at the top of Cooper’s wish list would not be brought in on trial, and, with Pools returning to Maiden Castle on Thursday and jetting off to Amsterdam seven days later, the boss says he expects some movement in the near future.

“I spoke to a few players last week and we have our targets identified,” he told us today.

“I need to chase up another target this week and we’re now waiting to hear back from people, but I’m still inundated with calls from agents.

“Hopefully by the end of this week or next week we’ll be closer to getting something sorted.

“We have seen these boys play and know what they are about, so there’d be no need for trials with the players we’re targeting at the moment.

“And I’ve made no secret of what we want – a new central-midfielder, a new left-winger and a new centre-forward.”

Cooper revealed last month that he was interested in bringing former Poolies Tommy Miller and Steve Howard back to the Vic.

Miller has since signed for free-spending Swindon Town while Midlands-based Howard is weighing up a number of offers and could stay closer to home.

And Cooper explained: “We’re still waiting to see what Steve will be doing.

“But we’ve still got plenty of time, although the sooner you get players in the better, of course.”

It is Swindon – Pools’ opening-day opponents – who have led the way in terms of close-season recruitment.

They have already brought in Gary Roberts and Miller from Huddersfield Town, as well as five others, including Andy Williams from Yeovil Town, a striker Cooper had admired.

And the first-team coach went on: “Swindon and a couple of others have a bit of cash to spend and they’re doing that.

“We’ve got budgets to work within, I know that and I’m realistic about that.”

Meanwhile, as reported in SportMail last month, former Middlesbrough defender Jonathan Grounds will not be joining Pools.

The 24-year-old defender yesterday joined Oldham Athletic following his release from the Riverside Stadium.