ANTONY Sweeney looks set to return to the Hartlepool United line-up for this weekend’s visit of Doncaster Rovers.
The Pools boss took the decision to remove his out-of-form midfielder from his starting XI for last night’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy clash with Bradford City.
His engine-room slot was taken by Simon Walton but he lasted a little over an hour before being replaced by Sweeney, who Cooper feels immediately made a difference.
The Scot was not happy with Walton’s contribution and the Yorkshireman now has a fight on his hands to win back a place in his manager’s first-team thinking.
“I gave one or two boys a chance but some didn’t take it,” said Cooper, whose side were dumped out of the competition following a 3-2 penalty-shootout defeat.
“I spoke to Simon and said, ‘here’s a chance for you’.
“He wasn’t happy about not being in the squad last week but that’s not good enough and I’ve told him that.”
Meanwhile, Cooper feels that Sweeney benefited from his demotion to the bench.
“It’s a confidence thing right now with a few players and it was a relief when I told Sweens he wasn’t playing,” he said.
“When he came on he was much better and we looked brighter as a result.
“That’s the sort of response I’m after from players.”
Cooper also confirmed that Andy Monkhouse will be missing for up to six weeks with ankle-ligament damage sustained during Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Crewe Alexandra.