COLIN Cooper admits Jack Baldwin is going to be a “big miss” for Hartlepool United after the defender picked up his 10th booking of the season and with it a two-match ban.
Baldwin will miss the weekend visit of Scunthorpe United and the trip to Dagenham & Redbridge after picking up a late booking in last night’s defeat at Wimbledon for a late, clumsy challenge on the half-way line.
His gaffer admits the 20-year-old committed a challenge he was never likely to win and, as a result, will now be missing for two matches.
Cooper believes some of the central defender’s bookings this season have been “avoidable” and said it will be a learning curve for the all-action Baldwin.
Cooper said: “It is a learning curve for a young defender.
“Jack has been exceptional for the majority of the season but some of the bookings were avoidable.
“I was still doing it well into my 30s – when you see the ball and think ‘am I going to get there?’ but you are already committed to it and I suppose that was his booking against Wimbledon.
“He committed to something and was always going to be a little bit short. But we will definitely miss him because he has been very good this season.”
Cooper, although disappointed with the end result, said Luke James’ second goal in a week was certainly a positive to take from last night.
The 19-year-old, who scored a wonderful 18-yard goal against York City on Saturday, followed that up with a tap-in to open the scoring for Pools against the Dons.
It means the much-sought after striker now has 12 goals to his name this campaign before the end of January.
Cooper said: “The arrival of Marlon Harewood has helped Luke and he has taken one or two of the knocks.
“The two that Luke has scored this week, one was a smashing finish [against York] and the second was a tap in from a yard and I would love him to score more like that.
“It is nice for him and a good return to have 12 by the back end of January.
“We all hope he can continue and back him up with one or two other people joining him on the score sheet and 1-0 turns into 2-0, 3-0, 4-0, hopefully.”