Flinders flourishing at Hartlepool Utd under keeper coach Pears

No!: Scott Flinders in action for Hartlepool United against Bradford AFC. Picture by FRANK REID
No!: Scott Flinders in action for Hartlepool United against Bradford AFC. Picture by FRANK REID

SCOTT Flinders is flourishing at Hartlepool United under the guidance of goalkeeper coach Stephen Pears.

That is the view of manager Colin Cooper who has praised the way the pair have been working since Pears joined as assistant manager and goalie coach in the summer.

Flinders has only managed to keep three clean sheets in 11 matches so far this campaign, which sees Pools third bottom of Sky Bet League Two.

But while the team is struggling to score goals with just five in the league so far, the defence has, at least, been holding firm at home in recent matches.

Flinders & Co have kept consecutive clean sheets at Victoria Park against Shrewsbury Town, Tranmere Rovers and Portsmouth at the weekend.

Speaking after the goalless draw with Pompey, Cooper said his side owed the point to the 28-year-old stopper from Rotherham.

Flinders - who has improved as the season has progressed - pulled off some important saves including a vital block to deny Craig Westcarr.

Pears, a coach of 16 years, used to play for both Middlesbrough and Pools but the 52-year-old is now helping improve the game of the club’s Number One.

Flinders is, of course, the only senior keeper at the club after the departure of Andy Rafferty last month.

His current back-up is Newcastle United’s teenage stopper Freddie Woodman.

But it is a close relationship that both Flinders and Pears are benefiting from, according to Cooper.

“Scott is enjoying working under Stephen,” Cooper told SportMail.

“That is no disrespect to people we have had working here before and people that worked last year.

“Jim Provett did a great job for us last year.

“Bringing Stephen in was a great shout for me and Scott is thoroughly enjoying it.

“Stephen spends a lot of time just talking, and that is the most important thing, as well as being a fantastic goalkeeping coach as well.

“Hopefully I’m not speaking out of turn but I think Scott is really enjoying it and why wouldn’t you?

“He is a top class goalkeeping coach who is also a top class guy.

“He will do nothing but give good, positive advice.”

Pears - who left Boro in November after Aitor Karanka reshuffled his coaching staff when he was appointed manager - joined Pools in July.

He replaced Craig Hignett who left the club back in March to join Karanka’s revolution at the Championship side.

Cooper was delighted to secure the services of his friend Pears but he will have been hoping for more success on the pitch this season.

After the goalless draw with Pompey, the manager has called on his side to turn the draws at home into much-needed wins.

Starting with Carlisle United at Victoria Park this Saturday.

Cooper added: “I am not happy with the situation we find ourselves but we need to find that edge.

“I’m not saying the players we have got aren’t good enough, they are, but my job is to keep looking.

“We need that to win football matches that we draw.”