Neale Cooper looks to see Pools end drought against Scunthorpe

FIT: Sam Collins
FIT: Sam Collins

HARTLEPOOL United’s search for a first goal of the season continues tomorrow – and Neale Cooper admits he’d happily take a “lucky deflection” to get the ball rolling.

From carving out a string of chances – and twice hitting the woodwork – in the opening two games of the campaign against Crewe Alexandra and Swindon Town, Pools failed to register a single effort on target during last week’s 2-0 defeat at Notts County.

Steve Howard has come closest for Pools, but the service to the summer signing dried up drastically at Meadow Lane.

It’s a mini-drought which is not of concern to Cooper – yet – although the Scot says that an early goal against bottom club Scunthorpe United would certainly not go amiss.

“There’s no pressure on the players because telling them we have to go out and score goals can play on your mind,” Cooper told SportMail.

“I’m confident the goals will come and if we get a lucky deflection and it goes in then it takes a wee bit of weight off them.

“If we got one of those early doors tomorrow then that would be great.”

Cooper is undecided as to whether he starts with his usual 4-4-2 system against The Iron, or switch to a 4-3-3 formation which would see Andy Monkhouse and Jon Franks pushed up to support Howard in attack.

Neil Austin, Sam Collins and Howard have all shaken off minor knocks to feature, while Paul Murray is set to win his first start of the season.

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

SEE three pages of Pools news and features in the Hartlepool Mail