Hartlepool Utd boss looks for winger ahead of Exeter trip

Neale Cooper
Neale Cooper

NEALE Cooper will this week look to strengthen his Hartlepool United squad with the acquisition of a “natural winger”.

The new Pools boss wasted no time in identifying a lack of pace among the players he inherited last month.

Cooper has thus far used Luke James, Antony Sweeney, Nathan Luscombe and Andy Monkhouse in wide positions.

But the Scot is not comfortable with any of that quartet being deployed on the wing long-term and has already been in touch with contacts at Premier League clubs in a bid to unearth potential loan signings.

He has also spoken to several players north of the border and looks set to step up his efforts in a bid to bolster his options over the coming days.

There has been speculation that Darlington skipper Jamie Chandler, a central midfielder, could be a target.

But Cooper has told SportMail a wideman remains his priority.

“I’ve been talking to players in Scotland who I’ve tried to get in, but it’s not happened yet,” he revealed.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of my friends at the Premier League clubs and there’s a few things to chase up this week.

“But there’s no wingers at the club and I like to play that way.

“Andy Monkhouse can play there, but I wouldn’t call him a jinky winger.

“I like to look for an out-ball there and you need a natural winger.

“We will keep looking this week.”

Cooper will almost certainly check on the availability of any North East-based academy and reserve-team players who may be looking to move out on loan during the January transfer window.

And a call to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who he played under at Aberdeen, will also be on the agenda.

Chandler, meanwhile, looks set to leave Darlington and we understand he was the subject of an approach from BlueSquare Premier rivals Gateshead last week.

It has been suggested in some quarters that Pools could also be interested in an approach for the 22-year-old former Sunderland trainee.