Neale Cooper to demand more from Pools summer signing Simon Walton

Simon Walton fights for possession in the midfield. Picture by FRANK REID

Simon Walton fights for possession in the midfield. Picture by FRANK REID

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NEALE Cooper will demand more from summer signing Simon Walton as Hartlepool United look to kickstart their campaign.

Three games in and Pools are yet to score a goal, Cooper twice having blasted his players in the wake of defeats at Crewe Alexandra and Notts County.

One man who has come in for some criticism is close-season capture Walton, the central midfielder who had caught the eye during the summer friendlies.

But the 24-year-old has struggled to carry that form in to the new season and he was substituted during the 2-0 reverse at Meadow Lane seven days ago.

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He would, however, have kept his place for Saturday’s postponed fixture at Leyton Orient, and Cooper is expecting to see Walton up his game when Scunthorpe United come to Victoria Park this weekend.

“Simon was poor against Notts County and I think he can do a lot better,” the Scot told SportMail.

“He was really promising coming in during the summer and I watched him in training and was excited.

“But I’ve spoken to him about it and he knows he’s got to do a lot better.

“From what I felt I saw in the early stages, I haven’t seen that in the last few games.

“He’s 24, he’s been around, and I’m sure he can take a bit of criticism.

“I’ve told him ‘that’s not good enough’, from what I know he’s capable of.

“If I thought he wasn’t capable of better then I wouldn’t make a big deal of it.

“But Simon has been there and seen it, let’s see if he can react.”

Meanwhile, Micky Barron’s reserves kick off their campaign tomorrow afternoon when Chesterfield visit The Vic (kick off 2pm).

Pools are expected to include at least two trialists in their starting line-up as well as the likes of Nathan Luscombe, Jack Baldwin and Darren Holden.

Cooper will be in attendance as he looks to strengthen his squad over the coming week.