NIL BY ‘MOUTH - Boss hopes to boost weak Pools with new strikers after goalless stalemate with Portsmouth

Colin Cooper looks on against Portsmouth. Picture by FRANK REID
Colin Cooper looks on against Portsmouth. Picture by FRANK REID

COLIN Cooper insists he is searching “high and low” for new strikers to boost his struggling Hartlepool United side.

It comes as he revealed to SportMail that two forwards, both free agents, will be joining the club on trial at Maiden Castle, in Durham, from tomorrow.

There is scope to bring in new permanent signings to Cooper’s squad - currently heavily reliant on loan players - with the manager stating Financial Fair Play regulations are not an issue.

Cooper was speaking after his side battled their way to a goalless draw at Victoria Park against Portsmouth in Sky Bet League Two.

The hardfought point did, at least, see Pools climb out of the bottom two to 22nd but finding the back of the net remains a major headache.

Cooper, who wasn’t naming names, told SportMail: “I have two coming in on Tuesday morning and they will spend a few days with us.

“I had three or four strikers on the bubble but one, a free agent, has signed somewhere else.

“I am trying to find an edge at the top of the pitch.

“No disrespect to what we already have but you just have to look at the goals for column to see something needs addressing.

“I am trying very hard but looking at everything, from the very top to people out of contract.

“The two coming in are out-of-contract players - two lads I know - and two lads who might offer us something different to what we already have.

“I am keen to get them in for the next week or so.

“There is no deal in place, I have had phone calls and spoke to the players and both are keen to come and have a look.”

Cooper’s staff are all working on the search for a striker to help cure the problem, which sees the club remain the lowest scorers in League Two, with just five goals in 10 games.

“I don’t panic,” insisted Cooper.

“I have been looking for people since last season.

“It is a case of who, where, when and can I do it?

“We are at a point where me and all of my staff are looking, speaking to managers, coaches seeing what is available.

“If I can do it, brilliant. If I can’t I can’t but there is no reason why I can’t at the moment.

“So I just have to find the right people.”

Pools currently have five players on loan; Freddie Woodman, a goalkeeper from Newcastle United, defender Scott Harrison from Sunderland plus Middlesbrough trio David Atkinson, Charlie Wyke and Ryan Brobbel.

Cooper hasn’t ruled out making further loan signings, but teams can only have five in their match day squad.

He added: “I have five loans in, you can have seven [in total] and four from one club.

“We have had a lot of favours but it is up to us to find that edge and that is where I need a bit of help.”

Saturday’s goalless draw means Pools have scored just the one goal in their last four matches.

“It is not rocket science but it is also not something that we are not trying to address,” added Cooper.

“I spoke to probably a dozen strikers last week, it is a case of can I get them in? If I can, I want it done.

“Some say no, fine, some clubs say not League Two, fine, and some might say yes.

“It is finding the ones that will say yes, on loan or whatever.

“We don’t have any issues about Financial Fair Play so there is nothing to stop us doing it - if we find the right person or persons.”