Hartlepool Utd’s Poole to keep place for Notts County clash

James Pool
James Pool

NEALE Cooper will again pair James Poole in attack with Steve Howard for tonight’s trip to Notts County (kick off 7.45pm).

The 22-year-old was restored to the starting line-up for Saturday’s goalless draw at home to Swindon Town having begun the campaign on the bench.

Poole faded in the second half and was eventually replaced by Luke James, the team-mate whose place in the side he had taken.

But Cooper was pleased with the striker’s contribution.

“James Poole did well alongside Stevie at the weekend, it was a big encouragement,” the Pools boss said.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people how good he is, but he’ll admit himself that he hasn’t shown that yet under myself.

“Hopefully we see what a good player he is now because he knows this is a big season for him.

“But on Saturday he was a big positive for me.

“He’d impressed me in training in the build-up to the game and that’s why I put him in.”

One player who will start against Pools tonight is Gary Liddle.

He left Victoria Park in the summer having decided he needed a fresh challenge after six years at the club.

And Cooper admits he understood Liddle’s motives.

“Lidds is one of the nicest boys I’ve worked with, but he felt it was time for a change,” he said.

“He will be involved against us and we wished him all the very best when he left.

“I really liked the boy, but he decided to move and try something different, which I understand.”

Keith Curle’s Magpies were 2-1 winners at Crewe on Saturday, Liddle filling in at centre-back, the position in which he is likely to start against his old club.

And Cooper expects a tough test in the East Midlands.

“Tonight’s a hard one, they won at Crewe 2-1 and it’s one of those leagues isn’t it where teams beat each other,” he went on.

“They have added well and will be out to impress after ending last season well.

“But we’re feeling much better about ourselves after Saturday and we’re ready to get our season up and running.”

Meanwhile, trialist goalkeeper Adam McHugh will now act as cover to Scott Flinders having signed a deal with Pools.

Peter Hartley is expected to be fit having recovered from the calf problem which forced him off against Swindon.

Pools (probable): Flinders; Austin, Hartley, Collins, Horwood; Monkhouse, Walton, Sweeney, Franks; Howard, Poole. Subs: McHugh, Baldwin, James, Murray, Luscombe, Holden, Nish.