Hartlepool Utd still searching for goalkeeper cover

No!: Scott Flinders in action for Hartlepool United against Bradford AFC. Picture by FRANK REID
No!: Scott Flinders in action for Hartlepool United against Bradford AFC. Picture by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United’s search for a permanent goalkeeper remains ongoing, writes RICHARD MENNEAR.

Colin Cooper is currently short in that department after former Number 2 Andy Rafferty left the club last month.

In came Sunderland youngster Joel Dixon on an emergency loan deal and that arrangement was expected to be extended yesterday as one of two loan deals.

But the loan signings didn’t materialise ahead of the match with Tranmere Rovers at Victoria Park this afternoon.

Cooper had said in his pre-match press conference that he was hoping to get “one or two through the door on Friday morning”, one of which was a goalkeeper and the other expected to be an attacking player.

Instead, Pools will have to wait until next week now.

Reinforcements to the squad are needed as well ahead of a busy week away to Northampton Town on Tuesday night and then a long trip to Plymouth Argyle next Saturday.

Pools, who are expected to be relying on youth keeper Jonathan Barber as cover in the meantime, are still looking for a permanent replacement for Rafferty.

Goalkeeping coach and assistant manager Stephen Pears has been tasked with finding a keeper to compete with Scott Flinders.

Cooper said: “Stephen is dealing with that.

“We are looking down the loan market but it doesn’t mean we aren’t trying to find a permanent replacement.

“But looking at who is out of contract and who you feel would be a genuine Number 2 pushing Scott to be a Number 1 is a hard task because that is a such specialised position.

“Really good goalkeepers are probably already tied up.

“We have had clubs ringing us and saying we are prepared to send you X, Y or Z but it would be more as cover for Scott.

“Luckily, touch wood, Scott doesn’t miss too many football matches and from that point of view we are very lucky.

“In the event the worst case scenario happened then we have to make sure we have somebody more than capable of going in goal and hopefully keeping some clean sheets for us.”

Pools are also still short on firepower up front after Luke James’ deadline day switch to Peterborough United and have been linked with Sunderland duo Mikael Mandron and Duncan Watmore and Middlesbrough striker Bradley Fewster.