UNDER THREAT - Hartlepool Utd boss threatens to drop stars for Shrewsbury clash

Neale Cooper
Neale Cooper

NEALE Cooper is ready to bench the senior players he believes could cost him his job at Hartlepool United.

Pools welcome Shrewsbury Town to Victoria Park on Saturday and, with the Scot still raging with several of his side following Tuesday’s 5-0 collapse at Preston North End, he is promising changes.

Captain Sam Collins and vice-captain Neil Austin both came in for criticism at Deepdale and Cooper could well make a statement by dropping the defensive pair.

It appears certain that at least one of them will pay the price for the midweek mauling, with teenager Jack Baldwin, left out at Preston, expected to return.

Sunderland loanee Craig Lynch is also on standby for his first start, with Andy Monkhouse or Simon Walton likely to give way.

And Cooper has warned that any player who finds himself out of the team dare not come knocking on his door demanding an explanation.

“I don’t care who it is – not one of them better come moaning to me if they’re not playing this weekend,” the Pools boss blasted.

“I’d rather put a kid in with a bit of fight and someone who stands up to people.

“Jack (Baldwin) will give you his lot, you know what you’re getting.

“But I did not see that (from others) on Tuesday and that hurts.

“I’m not accepting that from one or two, and these are experienced boys as well.

“But I don’t care, I’ll do it, I’ll change things.

“I try to be good to them as well, I really do. I understand with their families and where they live, but what do I get back?”

It is the defence which causes Cooper most anxiety.

Lauded following their 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on Saturday, their resistance was almost non-existent at times on Tuesday night.

And Cooper went on: “I don’t understand them as a group of boys – to go from Saturday to that.

“There’s a back four who were so good against Bournemouth.

“I praised them so much and the training on Monday was good.

“But then that on Tuesday, not good enough, I’m sorry.

“I watch other teams and the ball comes into their box and the centre-halves win everything, not us.

“I was embarrassed for the supporters the other night and I can only apologise to them.”