Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

We Must Speed It Up, Admits Cooper; Hartlepool Utd FC

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

We Must Speed It Up, Admits Cooper; Hartlepool Utd FC

Article excerpt

Byline: ADAM STEEL

NEALE Cooper is hoping to inject some fresh pace into his Hartlepool side during January after seeing their horrendous home run continue.

Pools lost for an unprecedented ninth time in succession on Cooper's return to Victoria Park as manager last night as struggling Scunthorpe returned to Humberside with a 2-1 win.

Seventeen-year-old Luke James and veteran utility man Ritchie Humphreys were the only Pools players to do themselves justice in a poor performance which Cooper apologised for afterwards.

The first half was particularly abject and after witnessing defeats at Sheffield United and to The Iron since being reappointed Pools boss last week, Cooper is keen to address the lack of quickness in his side.

James apart, Pools looked pedestrian in contrast to a Scunthorpe team who arrived just one place above the League One relegation zone, with Jimmy Ryan, Andy Barcham and Garry Thompson cutting livewire figures for the visitors in midfield.

Right-back Sam Togwell gave Scunthorpe the lead after playing a one-two with striker Jordan Robertson and Thompson doubled it in the second half after racing down the middle past Peter Hartley.

Pools pulled a late goal back through Andy Monkhouse, but with speedy top scorer James Poole still ruled out with a hamstring strain, their attacks were mostly laboured and predictable and Cooper is alarmed by the shortage of pace at his disposal.

"If I can address the lack of pace I will, I think it's there for all to see," said Cooper.

"What I've noticed in the two games in general is a lack of pace and I think nowadays pace is such a big thing in football.

"It's a great out ball in behind. If you look at our strikers, apart from James Poole, they are all similar.

"There is no out ball really up front. I've not seen James Poole, I'm going on what people are saying, and James can play wide right. …

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