NEALE Cooper has made no secret of Hartlepool United’s deepening injury concerns, and should he be forced to dip into the club’s fringe squad, his problems may be eased.
For some stellar individual performances from young and old alike helped Pools ease past a Middlesbrough side who fielded two Hartlepool-born players at Victoria Park.
But besides appearances from town-born Matthew Dolan and Ryan Brobbel, man of the show Adam Boyd staked his claim for a return to the starting line up with some terrific hold-up play, and was subbed after 70 minutes with Cooper doubtless a pleased observer from the stands.
Down the right, young Jordan Richards was the supplier of a host of good crosses.
And as Micky Barron acknowledged, the three outfield youth team players, Dominic Marshall, Nathan Buddle and Greg Rutherford, were excellent – the latter in particular taking a leaf out of the box-to-box handbook
Rutherford even bagged the game’s only two goals as he formed a good understanding with Steve Haslam.
Reserve-team coach Barron was happy with the win, heaping the plaudits onto the goalscorer and Boyd: “He (Boyd) did what he’s good at, held the ball up, laid it off and was a threat,” he told SportMail.
“I was pleased for him because they’re the type of games that can be difficult when you’re an older pro but I thought he handled it really well
“Greg scored two goals and he scored four in the youth team a couple of weeks ago.
“It’s a position where we’ve asked him to go and score goals from and he’s done that. In the first half he did really well.
“I thought all the young lads were terrific. Nathan Buddle and Paul Johnson did really well to cope with Curtis (Main) because Curtis has a lot of ability and they were composed on the ball.
“As you saw last night, we’ve got some good young lads who are pushing to try to get in to the first team.”
Full story in Thursday’s Mail