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Cooper brings his experienced duo back
NEALE Cooper will tomorrow welcome back his two most experienced stagers after a midweek rest.
Both Paul Murray and Steve Howard have been nursing knocks and bruises of late, and were left out of the side for Tuesday's Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie with Bradford.
Pools lost on penalties after 90 goalless minutes. Doncaster visit Victoria Park tomorrow, the first game of three important games in a week as Pools plot a route out of the bottom four in search of only their second victory of the season so far.
"Big Stevie didn't play the other night, he's been playing with injuries and been battered about a bit and Paul Murray sat it out for a rest,'' said Cooper.
"These two have had a rest and be back at the weekend.
"Steve has had a rest, he's been having rehab work done. He's been a regular and had a problem with his shin, a bad cut which has healed up. He's had a problem with his knee and also went over on an ankle so he's taken a battering.''
Both trained yesterday and Murray has proved a key performer this season.
While it was expected he would only be used sparingly following the summer signing of Simon Walton, Murray soon became key to Cooper's plans with Walton failing to make a mark.
"People thought I wouldn't take to Paul Murray when I came back, but I really like him as a person and his attitude is that of a winner,'' said Cooper.
"He's at the latter stages of his career, but brings a lot.
"Steve is the same. He's been carrying injuries and it's showed a bit, but he's bubbly and fresh.
"There's a strong spine to the team I can rely on and it's reassuring. We need them at this moment in time. You can speak to them on the park and if there's an issue they can help change it.
"But you need people like that on the park to lead by example, talk and say the right stuff.''
Cooper could field an attacking 4-3-3 line up tomorrow, with loan signings Charlie Wyke and Ryan Noble feeding off Howard.
Wyke arrived from Middlesbrough on Monday, with Noble returning from Sunderland last week on a temporary basis.
"I spoke to Charlie last night, he's a great addition even though he's not played this level of competitive football just yet,'' said Cooper.
"I still think Ryan and Stevie can link well and it's an option to play all three, one we will decide on.
"There's two new lads in on loan and straight away they have done well. Ryan was unlucky last weekend not to score, we got Charlie in on Monday and we are very grateful to the Boro for allowing him to come to us.
"He is a good addition and he did well. He's 19, learning the game and will benefit for the experience as well as being a good addition for us.''