Neale Cooper on Hartlepool United transfer trawl latest

Neale Cooper prior to the game against Walsall. Picture by FRANK REID
Neale Cooper prior to the game against Walsall. Picture by FRANK REID

NEALE Cooper admits that his “transfer shortlist is getting longer” – but the Pools boss will not enter “blind” into any deal.

The Scot’s mobile phone has been besieged by agents keen to offer up their players in recent weeks.

Cooper has already identified his top five targets for the summer, one of which – Jonathan Franks – is already through the door.

Others such as former Pools pair Steve Howard and Tommy Miller – out of contract next month but still involved in the play-offs with Huddersfield Town - will not be short of suitors and patience could be the key in landing their signature.

Cooper is well aware of the merits of experienced players of that ilk, but there is a sea of other potential additions who he admits to knowing less about.

And that is why the Pools boss told SportMail that he will not be taking any chances when it comes to his recruitment drive, admitting that some trialists may even accompany the squad on their pre-season trip to Holland in July.

“That shortlist is still getting longer because people are phoning me all of the time with players – but I’m not taking anyone in blind,” he declared today.

“I can’t afford to do that – I’ve got to get it right.

“I’ve had trialists in but they have been nothing exciting.

“So unless it’s from a really, really good source and they say ‘listen, this boy will do a job for you’, then I’ll not be taking any chances.

“I like to see people because I can tell after five or 10 minutes if a boy has something.

“So we might even take boys with us to Holland who have been recommended, that’s definitely an option.”

Cooper is currently back at home in Scotland but is being kept right up to speed with any potential developments at Victoria Park.

He will enjoy a short holiday next month before returning to Hartlepool and pressing ahead with his close-season rebuild.

And he went on: “I’m back in Scotland but you’re always working in this game.

“I’ve made contact with some players but it’s a case of giving them a wee bit of time.

“This is the real deal now, these next six or seven weeks, and it’s an exciting time for me.

“But things won’t all happen at once and we might have to be patient.

“If we can’t get our main targets then it might mean players coming in during pre-season.”