Future is bright at Hartlepool United says Cooper

Neale Cooper prior to the game against Walsall. Picture by FRANK REID
Neale Cooper prior to the game against Walsall. Picture by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United’s future is bright thanks to the talent coming off the conveyor belt at Victoria Park.

That is the proud message from first team coach Neale Cooper today.

Cooper has spoken to SportMail this week in praise of the three teenagers he thew into the fray at Walsall this week – Jack Baldwin, Lewis Hawkins and Josh Rowbotham.

Only Baldwin was likely to start today’s visit of Stevenage with both Hawkins and Rowbotham due to be taken out of the firing line, though neither let themselves down in last Saturday’s 0-0 draw.

But Cooper said that there are more young gems emerging from the club’s academy set up.

Cooper watched on in admiration on Wednesday night as a youthful Pools, with Steve Haslam and Adam Boyd adding some vital experience, defeated Middlesbrough 2-0 at Victoria Park.

Greg Rutherford scored both goals in the 2-0 win but there were starring roles also from Jordan Richards, Nathan Buddle, Paul Johnson and Dominic Marshall.

“I felt [Josh and Lewis] their energy and youth would be good for us – they can graft and get up and down the park.

“Josh plays sort of a Paui Murray role, though he can play anywhere in midfield, and Lewis has been doing well for the youth and reserve teams.

“We have big hopes for them in the future.

“I enjoyed watching our reserves on Wednesday night when Johno and Nathan showed they are two more for the future.”

SEE Saturday’s Mail for full story