SHEFFIELD UNITED: Neale Cooper refuses to pull his punches

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HARTLEPOOL manager Neale Cooper has launched an outspoken attack on his team’s defence ahead of tonight’s League One fixture with Sheffield United.

Cooper, whose side have conceded 15 goals in the competition so far this term, accused United’s opponents of neglecting their responsibilities in Saturday’s defeat by fellow strugglers Colchester.

“We’re just crucifying ourselves at the back,” Cooper said.

“I keep saying certain things but the personnel are not doing it.

“I’m thinking to myself ‘What am I watching here?’ Sorry if that hurts but it’s just not good enough. We have two centre-backs that are experienced for this team yet it’s like they’ve never played together.

“Maybe personnel have got to change in that area.”

Such is Cooper disillusionment with Hartlepool’s performances, he has already confirmed that either Peter Hartley or captain Sam Collins are likely to be axed for the visit of Danny Wilson’s side.

“I can’t watch that again, it’s torture,” Cooper added.

“It’s got to change because I’ve given them chances and the benefit of the doubt but that defensive play is criminal.

“I’ve spoken to them (Hartley and Collins) individually but it’s like they’ve never played that position.”