Neale Cooper set to change “strongest” Pools side after just one game

Neale Cooper. Picture by FRANK REID
Neale Cooper. Picture by FRANK REID

NEALE Cooper is already considering changes to what he had thought was his “strongest” XI.

The Pools boss was raging in the aftermath of Saturday’s 5-0 hammering at Crewe Alexandra in the League Cup First Round.

Cooper started with the side which he had named as his preferred line-up some three weeks earlier.

But it now looks certain that the Scot will make changes for this weekend’s League One opener at home to Swindon Town.

“There are options if I want to change things and I’ll look at that,” he told SportMail today as the inquest continued into the Crewe collapse.

“We couldn’t have prepared any better for Saturday, but then they went out and played like that – shocking. “I can’t accept that.”

James Poole looks to have the best chance of winning a starting berth having replaced Luke James at the break at Gresty Road.

“I thought Poolie did okay when he came on,” he said.

“Poolie knows it’s a big season for him.

“He’s worked hard during pre-season and his chance will come.”

Cooper will also consider recalling Paul Murray in a bid to further protect a back four which were brutally exposed against the Railwaymen.

And the 48-year-old went on: “It was just too easy for Crewe on Saturday and the centre-backs were tortured.

“The defence is a part of our game which has been really strong.

“So it was a shock to see that performance and I’ve not felt like that for a while after a game.

“But hopefully that was our one for the season and it’s out of our system now.

“Hopefully they’ll learn from it because that wasn’t acceptable.”

Cooper will now attempt to lift himself and his players for Saturday’s visit of The Robins who, like weekend conquerors Crewe, were promoted from League Two last season.

“I’ve got to pick myself up and pick them up, but I need a lot better than that,” he said.

“They have to bounce back in what is a big league game.

“It’s going to be a big challenge, but we’ll be up for it.”