COMMENT:It is not mission impossible - someone CAN save Pools!

Neil Austin celebrates scoring the opening goal with Steve Howard during the 1-1 draw with Doncaster from the penalty spot. Picture by FRANK REID
Neil Austin celebrates scoring the opening goal with Steve Howard during the 1-1 draw with Doncaster from the penalty spot. Picture by FRANK REID

IT is not mission impossible.

Someone, somewhere, can save Hartlepool United.

Someone, somewhere, can spare them the indignity of relegation to League Two, a plain they had hoped was consigned to history.

As Autumn kicked in a mist of inevitability descended over Victoria Park, their fate seemingly sealed.

Another game passed, as did the next, the quick-fire nature of League One offering no sanctuary for those in need of salvation.

Pools were plummeting towards the bottom of the table, and nothing, it seemed, could be done to suppress their sorry slump.

Neale Cooper recognised as much.

He had explored all avenues in a bid to conjure a winning formula.

But whatever formula he applied, there was just one end product – defeat.

And so, after three lethargic losses on the spin, the Scot stood aside.

He had given his lot, of that we can be sure.

The players had not responded, it is results which bare testimony to that truth.

But football has a habit of throwing up fresh starts.

And now, with Cooper gone and a replacement set to arrive, the Pools squad have been presented with a new beginning.

They need one.

They need, in the words of one former player who shall remain anonymous, a “bloody good shake-up”.

Too many have coasted for too long, betraying signs of boredom with their profession.

Gary Liddle sensed that sterility last season and was a victim of it – he is now playing for fifth-placed Notts County.

Cooper tried in vain to rid his squad of what he feared was a cosiness, he pleaded with them to match his passion for the cause.

The new man will be charged with exactly the same task, rallying a set of players who are surely capable of far better than they produced under Cooper.

For they are not all bad players.

Some of them, in fact, are very good players.

Scott Flinders is a goalkeeper who, no matter the outcome of Pools’ quest for safety, will probably not be playing League One football next season, he is headed for bigger things.

The new boss, like Cooper, will treasure his gloveman.

Elsewhere, Jack Baldwin, at 19, has displayed a maturity way beyond those tender years this season, he is another who will one day grace the highest stage.

But, for now, that pair are on the books at Clarence Road - they will be the first names on the team-sheet for whoever inherits their undoubted talent.

There are, however, others around which a rescue mission can be launched.

Peter Hartley and Paul Murray both harbour the tenacity and pride which should form the cornerstone of any escape act.

From all of the others, more is needed, and any boss who can solve the conundrum of Antony Sweeney’s loss of form would have restored a precious player.

Likewise, Jonathan Franks, James Poole and Ryan Noble are a trio of young forwards with the capacity for so much more than they have offered of late.

So the new man, it can be said, will not be without the tools.

Yes, some of them are broken right now, but it will be his duty to fix and then assemble a team to claw Pools clear of the mess they find themselves in.

It will be tough, but it is not mission impossible.