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Bradford visit Victoria Park in cup
WITH their season still waiting to really start, there won’t be many changes for Hartlepool United tonight.
Winless and with only one goal, in a Capital One Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest, to their name, Pools will field what will be a first-choice team against Bradford this evening.
Steve Howard will most likely be absent after needing stitches in a cut to his face suffered in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Torquay, while winger Jack Compton is also a doubt after being forced off with a calf strain.
That should mean recalls for two of Andy Monkhouse, James Poole and Luke James.
And Cooper, a former coach and caretaker boss of tonight’s opponents, said: “We have to play the strongest team we possibly can against Bradford.
“We have to give them a right game and try to get through. There won't be much tinkering.
“I've never been a person who thinks any cup competition should be treated differently.
“You to try to play the best-possible team to win a game and that's what we'll be doing.’’
James could be starting tonight, after Cooper was satisfied with his substitute appearance at Plainmoor.
Last month, Cooper revealed the striker had asked for some help in finding his feet this season and the signs at the weekend were that he is getting there.
“I spoke to Luke about a game he played against Tranmere last season, I've gone back and watched that DVD,’’ said Cooper. “He was a constant menace that day.
“What he did for us in the second half was exactly the same, putting defenders under pressure.
“Then, when we've got the ball, he was running in behind them.
“That was a really good 45-minute display from him.
“That Tranmere game was more about his enthusiasm and work-rate because he only had one shot on goal.
“What he did in the second half worked and that's to his credit.’’
James had Pools’ first chance at Plainmoor, when his shot forced the home keeper into a save.
It came from the sort of movement Cooper is looking for from the teenager.
“He got away on the shoulder for a chance from Matty's pass but, unfortunately, the finish wasn't quite there,’’ said Cooper.
“I think he's a smashing young man and will be a good footballer for Hartlepool in the future.
“He deserved to have a 45-minute runaround.
“He really has been working hard and he's eager to learn.’’
Admisson tonight is £10, £5 concessions with kick-off at 7pm.
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