Hartlepool Utd skipper to return for Crewe Alexandra cup game

Neale Cooper
Neale Cooper

SAM Collins will return to lead Hartlepool United into the new season at Crewe Alexandra tomorrow (kick off 3pm).

The 35-year-old missed the 5-1 midweek defeat at the hands of Newcastle United because of family reasons.

And boss Neale Cooper explained: “Sam’s back training now.

“Unfortunately his son had a little accident.

“Thankfully he’s getting better now, but I thought it was important that Sam stayed with his family during the past couple of days.

“He was grateful for the time off but that’s more important than football.

“He didn’t play against Newcastle, but I don’t think he’s too bothered about that bearing in mind how good they were!”

Collins will return to skipper the side at the heart of the defence at the Alexandra Stadium.

And Cooper added: “Prior to this week Sam had done very well in the three home game we had – he’s the captain of this club and a big player for us.

“He’s got better as pre-season has gone on, like most bigger lads tend to, I was the same as a player.

“So he’ll come back in and it’s good to have him back.”

Cooper will tomorrow name the same line-up which had started the three previous matches prior to Collins’ absence against Newcastle.

“We’re fully fit apart from the goalkeeper Andy Rafferty,” the Pools boss went on.

“Colin Nish missed a few days after he hurt his knee in the warm-up at Bishop Auckland and we were a bit concerned because he had two operations last season.

“But it’s okay now and he’s back in training.”

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