Cooper happy to fend off interest

The Advertiser Series: DREAM START: Jack Barmby scored on his debut at the weekend DREAM START: Jack Barmby scored on his debut at the weekend

THREE new signings in the bag, a first win of 2014 and now Colin Cooper is sure he will see out the transfer window unscathed.

Hartlepool United are at AFC Wimbledon this evening, on the back of Saturday’s encouraging 2-0 win over York City at Victoria Park.

The victory was capped by a fine goal by attacker Jack Barmby, who moved on loan from Manchester United last week.

It was set up by another new loan recruit, Luke Williams of Middlesbrough, while Marlon Harewood made his second appearance since signing for the club.

Cooper admits his incoming deals are all done and he’s not expecting anyone to firm up their interest in any of his talented players.

Luke James - who opened the scoring with his 11th of the season at the weekend - and Jack Baldwin are the players being watched by many.

But Cooper admitted: “We are fortunate that they (Williams and Barmby) are here and they can only help us. I hope to keep them longer than a month, but that’s not up to me.

“We have had phone calls about our players, I won’t lie about that. But the good thing about Hartlepool is that we don’t have to sell players. We can see where things are and there’s only a few days left of the transfer window. I’d be surprised if anyone came in and made a call.

“It’s down to other clubs, but I don’t have to sell and it’s great for Hartlepool that we have players who people want to pay good money for.

“I think we have some real assets, some saleable assets here, but I had a long conversation with the chairman last week and we don’t have to sell anybody because of the way the club is run.

“It’s a real shot in the arm that we have players who are attracting interest.’’ Barmby could start this evening in Pools’ first visit to the Cherry Red Records Stadium in Kingston-Upon- Thames.

And, while he’s not ruled out further temporary signings once the emergency loan window opens next month, he admitted: “I don’t think we will be adding to the squad in the next few days. We’ve made three signings and we don’t have an awful lot left.

“Judging from what I’ve seen, if I can phone Warren Joyce (Manchester United under-21 coach) and say we would love to keep Jack until the end of the season, I would love to.

“But we have taken a punt on him, our scout list was long at the weekend and I’m sure those scouts are going home advising their clubs to jump on him when his month is up, because this lad oozes class.

“At the moment we have to play it by ear and the longer we can keep Jack and Luke here, all the better.

“I’m asking players to raise their standards and raise the bar and, when you see them two playing out there, that’s a high standard of football.

There’s a reason why Jack is at Manchester United and why Luke has been on a lot of radars at Middlesbrough over the years.’’ The Dons will field Charlie Wyke up front tonight. He recently moved on loan from Boro and had a temporary spell at Pools last season.

Pools will keep Harewood and James in tandem this evening and, after fielding a diamond-shaped midfield at the weekend, Cooper admitted: “We changed the formation slightly from the start to incorporate two strikers and Luke and I’ve worked with that formation over the years.

“I’m just really pleased to get 2014 off an running and we deserved it. Wimbledon had a good result as well and they are playing decent football.

They were one of the better teams to come here this season, even though we won 3-1.’’ Pools kept a first clean sheet since November against York, a feat that pleased Cooper.

“We were strong at the back, we had to be,’’ he said.

“I recognise, as a former defender, that you what to put your body on the line and block with what you can to stop the opposition scoring.

“It doesn’t go unnoticed from me, I did it for a living.

“When teams come onto us, we have the quality to pick them off and getting players in this week gives us more.

Being able to bring players into the group adds more.’’

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