Alex Cooper
Alex Cooper

WITH Mick Wadsworth watching on from the stands there was more than just Alex Cooper, the son of former Pools boss Neale, on trial for the opening league fixture of the second-string season.

James Poole, for one, was given a surprise outing for Micky Barron’s men.

Wadsworth had insisted that the 21-year-old’s substitution just 20 minutes after coming on during Saturday’s draw at Stevenage was not a punishment for losing the ball in the build up to the hosts’ late equaliser.

This demotion was no doubt a test of his character in response to the weekend disappointment.

James Brown was another substitute at Broadhall Way who could have been deemed culpable for Boro’s leveller, the forward having failed to track scorer Scott Laird from the fatal 88th-minute corner.

He, too, started against the Tynesiders – this, though, was as much a trial of his fitness as anything else.

That Wadsworth locked his players in the changing room for 15 minutes following the game suggests he wasn’t best pleased with what he saw.

It would, though, be both harsh and unfair to say either Poole or Brown were the source of the manager’s anger.

A pitiful team display, on the other hand, was more the point of irritation.

Read the full match report in today’s Mail.