Double take

HARTLEPOOL United are to make a double signing today with the acquisition of two internationals.

Former England defender Steve Howey and ex-Republic of Ireland Under-21 winger Thomas Butler were both due to put pen to paper on deals to keep them at Victoria Park until the end of the season.

The pair successfully came through 90 minutes in the reserves' 3-1 win at Barnsley yesterday and Cooper feels they will be a good acquisition to the squad.

They will be the final additions to the Pools squad with the transfer window for League clubs closing at 5pm today.

Cooper said: "The two of them have been training with us and we are looking to get them in for the rest of the season.

"Both lads are not fully fit yet but they are training every day and they will be ready soon.

"We can have them here as cover at a really important stage in the season."

Howey has been training for the last three weeks with Pools while Butler came in this week in the hope of securing a deal.

Former Newcastle defender Howey is yet to play in England this season. After leaving Blackburn last summer he spent a brief spell in America, playing just two matches, before returning to train with Oldham.

From there he was invited on a trial with Pools, where he will sign until the end of the season.

Cooper said: "Howey reads the game really well and had a good game yesterday. He has played at the top level."

After being released by Sunderland last season, Butler was eventually picked up by Scottish Premier League side Dunfermline in September where he spent six months. From there he had an unsuccessful trial with Sheffield Wednesday but caught the eye of Cooper.

He explained: "He was back in Ireland and has been to a couple of clubs and we asked him if he wanted to come and train here.

"He did really well yesterday considering he is not match-fit.

"He will be a good addition and is totally different from anything we have in the squad already."

Neither player will be in tomorrow's squad but Cooper added: "The boys in the team can look around and know that there are some very good players waiting to take over if they slip-up."

BBC Radio Newcastle reported that Phillips, currently at Southampton, will be wood to St James’s Park in the summer.

l Dyer thanks Dean: Page 35

DOUBLE TAKE

NEW FACES: Former Newcastle United and England star Steve Howey (left) and ex-Sunderland and Republic of Ireland Under 21 international Thomas Butler (right) have signed for Pools until the end of the current League one campaign

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