COLIN Cooper has revealed that the game’s talent-spotters are already descending on Victoria Park – and the subject of their attention is no secret.
The Pools boss moved swiftly on the eve of the season to secure the future of Brad Walker, the academy starlet penning his first professional contract.
The 17-year-old has subsequently started the campaign in impressive fashion and is arguably now Cooper’s first-choice central midfielder.
Walker will keep his place in the side for Saturday’s A19 derby at York City, where the scouts are again set to assess his abilities.
It is highly unlikely he will be playing his football anywhere other than the Vic this season, but interest is nonetheless gathering momentum.
“I saw the scout list before Saturday’s game and I would say that there’s no hiding the fact that people will be watching him,” Cooper told SportMail today.
“He still has a bit to go and we’ve got to remember that he is a young boy.
“He’s 17 and will make mistakes but we believe in him.
“Can he give us any more than he is and have the state of mind to be calm and competitive?
“I don’t think so, he’s doing just smashing - I wasn’t doing that at 17 and I went on to have a decent career.”
Cooper, though, admits that Walker still needs the help and guidance of his seniors over the coming months.
And the Pools chief believes there will come a time when the youngster needs to be taken out of the limelight.
“When will that honeymoon period be over when he hits a brick wall?” considered Cooper.
“That’s when we help him a bit.
“Brad is the goggle-eyed one – asking questions all the time and that’s what you look for.
“The stature he has helps him and he will learn about the physical side and he constantly wants to learn about the technical side and the tactical side of things.
“We can help him grow into a man here and he’ll need the help of his team-mates, too.
“Simon (Walton) really helped him out in there on Saturday and I thought he did well.
“Simon also gave James Poole a chance to create in a different area further forward and I thought that worked well.”