Pools boss Cooper happy with Scott Flinders

SAFE PAIR OF HANDS: Scott Flinders

SAFE PAIR OF HANDS: Scott Flinders

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NEALE Cooper admits several of his Hartlepool United squad suspect that Scott Flinders is his favourite – but the Scot does not care.

Rather, the Pools chief chooses to bestow yet more praise on the goalkeeper he believes could play “at the highest level”.

The performance of Flinders, 26, has made him somewhat immune to criticism in recent weeks, despite the fact that Pools have shipped 24 goals this season.

The netminder has performed heroics at times, emerging with the man-of-the-match award on several occasion.

And Cooper, whose side are currently second from bottom in League One, lays no blame at the door of his No.1, as he told SportMail: “Scott gives the back four cover – but there have been times when I wouldn’t have liked to play behind them this season.

“Scott’s been excellent in a lot of the games where we’ve conceded poor goals.

“He’s someone when I came in last season I gave him praise every game because I thought he was outstanding.

“The players were saying ‘oh, he’s the gaffer’s boy, Scottie’, but I don’t care, he deserves the praise and he’s been outstanding for me.”

SEE Saturday’s Mail for full story