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Cooper misses Howard’s penalty miss
AS Steve Howard strode up to take his first penalty back in a Hartlepool United shirt, Neale Cooper didn’t watch.
Pools’ new spot-kick taker was given the chance to score his first goal for the club since he left in 1999 in the closing stages of the win over Scunthorpe.
Keeper Sam Slocombe stopped his effort, and Cooper knew from the reaction of the crowd what had happened.
“I didn’t watch the penalty, I just heard the crowd,’’ he admitted.
“Sometimes I can’t watch, I knew a second goal would finish the game but we kept giving them a sniff.
“We had a lot of attacking but it didn’t quite happen for the strikers. I don’t have a lot to work with up front.
Luke James come on from the bench, Nishy is away on loan. I spoke to James Poole on Friday about giving him a chance and he did OK.
“We don’t have a lot really to change it, that’s why we went with what we did.
“Strikers on the bench, we don’t have many options.’’
Cooper is still hoping to get Ryan Noble on loan from Sunderland in the near future, but, for now, has to work with what he has in front of him.
He hopes Luke James is now ready to come to the fore again after a tame spell.
“Luke has had a really hard time lately but scored a fantastic goal,’’ said Cooper.
“You could see his excitement when he scored; great touch, great finish.
“He was even down in the dumps in the reserve game the other day, looking like a little boy lost at times.
“We put him on the bench and, when Poole looked a bit tired, he was on. It was great for him to come up with the goal.’’