Dave Challinor outlines the role Rotherham United defender Jake Cooper will play at Hartlepool United with honest admission

Dave Challinor hopes Jake Cooper will NOT have a massive role to play at Hartlepool United during the final matches of the 2020-21 season.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 6:00 am

The 21-year-old arrived on loan from Rotherham United last week having previously spent time on loan in the north east at Gateshead. He made the journey down with the squad to Torquay United last Saturday and was named on the bench in Tuesday's draw at Altrincham.

"He comes having played regularly at a decent level with Gateshead over two loan spells and comes really highly recommended by them,” Challinor told The Mail.

“[The past two games] will have done him the world of good by just coming away with the team and being around the squad.

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Jake Cooper of Gateshead scores the first goal during the Vanarama National League North Play-Off match between Brackley Town and Gateshead at St. James Park on July 19, 2020 in Brackley, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

"Already, he’s seen what our expectations are and what will be expected of him. He gives us really good competition and he’s ready to play, which is ideal.”

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Going into the final 15 games of the season, Cooper’s arrival suggests the young centre-back will be viewed as a back-up option for the time being. And that’s something Challinor has made clear.

“I’m looking forward to working with him and hopefully we don’t need him too much for the foreseeable future,” added the Pools boss.

“But we’ve seen with some injuries that things can change quickly and Jake provides really good cover in that regard.”

A three match suspension for Lewis Cass could give Cooper an opportunity to break into the starting line-up in the next three games. And we’ve seen previously with the likes of Ryan Johnson, how a back-up signing can become a big player in the side should the circumstances dictate it.

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