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Cooper warns clubs it will take big offer to land Baldwin
HARTLEPOOL UNITED manager Colin Cooper has warned clubs interested in Jack Baldwin that it will take a big offer to prize the defender away from Victoria Park.
Baldwin has been one of Pools’ top performers over the last couple of seasons and has produced consistent displays that have caught the eye of several clubs.
There is interest from Championship duo Huddersfield and Blackburn, but interestingly Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has also been keeping tabs on the 20-year-old.
The Black Cats boss has sent scouts to watch Baldwin on a number of occasions this season, but Cooper insists their North-East rivals aren’t the only club watching.
And the Hartlepool boss, who takes his side to Cheltenham this afternoon, insists it would take a big offer to tempt Pools into selling.
“It’ll cost you, a lot!” said Cooper. “I think we’ve got a lot of players that are attracting attention and playing the way we have done will only intensify that.
“The list of scouts coming to watch our team is getting longer. I think on Saturday in the FA Cup we had 15 scouts watching and a lot of them are from high-end clubs so we know they are watching.
“I’ve already spoken to a couple of managers regarding players. The thing about football is, if you’re not in the top end of football there’s not a lot of money.
“It’s nice for Jack, he’s been outstanding pretty much all of the season and has carried on the form he showed in League One.
“It’s a big shot in the arm for Jack that people are watching. It’s lovely as a manager to get that recognition to know the players are doing well.
“You’ve got to have certain attributes and the way we are playing is attracting clubs.
“I think we have to do what’s best for the player and for the club, but if a Premier League club came knocking on the door for Jack Baldwin, I don’t think I could turn that dream down, but we’d do it on the right terms.
“As it stands at the moment I’d be surprised if there’s people out there willing tto open their cheque books.”
After coming from behind to earn a FA Cup replay against Coventry last weekend, Pools’ attentions divert back to the league with a tricky trip to Cheltenham.
They lie one point and a place ahead of Pools in the table and with a busy festive period coming up, Cooper admits his side must start translating their home form into away trips having not won on the road since October.
He said: “I think it’s a case of being the next game. We try to win as many games as we can.
“Obviously the last few away games we’ve not got anything out of so I think it’s important we try and set our stall out to get something out of the game.
“It’s about keeping track of what’s going on above you and also what’s going on behind you. We are bang in the middle in the table and I’m certainly not looking over my shoulder, but we have to pick things up on the road as well as continue our home form.”
Cooper also hopes to resolve the situation with Matty Dolan and Christian Burgess, whose loan deals are due to end at the turn of the year.
The Pools boss is keen to extend both players’ stay at Victoria Park and hopes to the matter will be resolved with Middlesbrough before Christmas.
“Ideally, we’d like to get it sorted and the sooner the better.
“I’ll make a phone call to Middlesbrough and see when that possibility is but we don’t want to be getting to the game on Boxing Day, because there will be no time in between to do the administration.
“Football clubs are still running but one or two people might have days off over the Christmas holidays so it’s crucial that we try to get it boxed off before Christmas and hopefully extend their stay a little longer.”
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