Hartlepool boss remaining patient in transfer search as Sunderland manager gets frustrated

The Advertiser Series: Summer signing: Stuart Parnaby played his first game at Victoria Park for Hartlepool United (pink/black) against Sunderland on Wednesday. Picture: Chris Booth Summer signing: Stuart Parnaby played his first game at Victoria Park for Hartlepool United (pink/black) against Sunderland on Wednesday. Picture: Chris Booth

COLIN COOPER does not think having a Premier League transfer budget necessarily makes things easier on the transfer front, despite having to be patient in his wait to add to his Hartlepool United squad.

Pools matched their top-flight neighbours Sunderland for more than an hour on Wednesday night before Gustavo Poyet introduced 11 members of his Under-21s squad to inject pace in to the visitors’ way of playing at just the right time.

The Black Cats ended up winning 3-0 courtesy of two goals from Andrew Cartwright and Carl Lawson and Cooper hopes the experience at Victoria Park has highlighted to his players what is required to reach new heights.

But while Poyet has struggled to spend to strengthen his squad in readiness for his first full season in the Premier League, Cooper has his own concerns in the market – but without the vast amount of cash being exchanged higher up the football ladder.

“Being brutally honest, I think having the money is worse,” said Cooper. “You desperately want to do some business and you desperately want new players. Football now, whether you are pitching at £10m, £15m or pitching at nothing, as we are, then people still want options. You don’t want to just jump on the first thing that comes along.

“I know Gus is trying. Premier League teams have 22, 24, 30 players, what I am working on is trying to cherry pick players who I think will benefit what we already have here.

“Geographically and league position makes it difficult, we are Hartlepool and that becomes its own stumbling block. The first two players we signed were easy. They wanted to be here. The hardest bit is working with agents etc ... I am not naive. I don’t get annoyed about it.

“If I’m a footballer you want to play as high for as long as you can. We will keep knocking on the door and see, if it’s not next week then hopefully it will be the week after. The frustration is there because we want players in, the frustration is that it could be in three weeks. You never know when the right one will come along. I would like to do business tomorrow, but when it will be done I don’t know.”

Hartlepool have already signed free agents Stuart Parnaby and Matthew Bates but have been unable to add to that. Former Leeds midfielder Michael Brown was among his targets before he joined Port Vale.

Tommy Miller, the former Pools and Sunderland midfielder, remains on trial and turned in a decent display on Wednesday, while Michael Woods did not get on after picking up a slight injury.

Cooper intends to have other new faces in before starting the season at Stevenage on August 9 and defenders Christian Burgess and Scott Harrison, who had loan spells at the Vic last season from Middlesbrough and Sunderland, are in his thinking once more.

“The loan market won’t really kick in until we start our season,” said Cooper, who takes his team to Whitby on Saturday.

“The higher league teams want to know what they have got for their season, so we will see. Players like Scott Harrison, Christian Burgess, Connor Oliver and Jack Barmby, like we got last season, would have no problem fitting in to what we are trying to do here, but they might not happen until four weeks down the line. I am knocking on the door asking questions.”

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