NEALE Cooper will guard against a “Kamikaze” approach at Bournemouth tomorrow – with Simon Walton on standby for a recall.
The Scot could sacrifice one of his attacking personnel in favour of an extra midfielder against the free-spending Cherries, who now have Harry Redknapp on board as a football advisor.
They picked up their first victory of the season at Yeovil Town last weekend and chief scout Paul Baker has returned a cautionary report on the southerners’ credentials.
That looks set to tilt Cooper’s thinking going into the game and Walton could come into contention in a bid to strengthen the midfield ranks.
The 24-year-old has been replaced by Paul Murray in the heart of engine-room during the past two matches but he played the full 90 minutes of the midweek reserve-team defeat at Oldham Athletic.
And Cooper says he has seen a positive reaction from Walton in light of his demotion to the substitutes’ bench.
“I was at the reserve game during the week and Simon and Ritchie (Humphreys) both played well and were the only two positives really,” he said, reflecting on that 2-1 defeat.
“Simon looks a lot sharper and fitter, which he had to be, and I’ve told him that.
“He’s worked really hard since I’ve brought Paul back.
“That’s what I want – a reaction from boys.
“And to get the best out of Simon I thought he had to be a bit fitter.
“But he’s in the squad and we could use him this weekend.”
And Cooper went on: “We’ll have to think about what we’ll do.
“Reports have come back that it’s the best team that our chief scout has seen this season.
“They have 30 players on their staff and all could play in the first-team.
“So we can’t be Kamikaze away from home against a good side who like to pass it around.”
One player certainly absent from the squad which travels to the south coast is Neil Austin, the defender serving a one-game ban following last weekend’s red card against Carlisle United.
Jack Baldwin deputised for Austin when the right-back was missing through injury at Notts County last month and the 18-year-old will again fill the void.
“Jack will come in and do a job at right-back,” he said, with Baldwin having also filled in for Austin following his dismissal against the Cumbrians.
“It was a hard one for him to come into last weekend.
“He’s naturally a centre-back but came on at full-back.
“He made a little mistake which unfortunately led to a goal but I’ve spoken to him about it.
“But for a young lad he has old shoulders on him and I’m sure he’ll do fine.”
POOLS (probable): Flinders; Baldwin, Hartley, Collins, Horwood; Monkhouse, Walton, Murray, Sweeney, Franks; Howard. Subs: McHugh, Luscombe, Lynch, Humphreys, Poole, James, Holden