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Cooper Excited By Sunderland Test

27 July 2012

Pools boss looks for pick-up in pre season tempo

Neale Cooper is looking forward to seeing his side do battle with Sunderland at Victoria Park tonight in the Club's first home pre season friendly (7.30pm kick-off). 

The Pools boss is set to name a strong line-up for tonight's game and reckons that the visit from the Black Cats is the perfect way to pick up the pre season tempo. 

"We're delighted to have Sunderland coming here for a pre season game again - it should be an exciting match for the fans and hopefully very entertaining. 

"There'll be a big crowd and a great atmosphere so I'd urge as many Pools fans as possible to come and enjoy it with us. 

"It will be a tough game for us because Sunderland are a Premier League side, but we've got through a lot of work this pre season and now we need to start stepping things up. 

"We have three really good home friendlies in the next week and I want to see the players showing some greater sharpness as we move towards the start of the season." 

Ryan Noble could be handed a start for Sunderland tonight on his return to The Vic, having spent two months on loan with Pools at the end of last season. 

Cooper revealed that he gave a glowing report on Noble's spell at The Vic to Black Cats boss Martin O'Neill who has since given the 21-year-old a chance to impress during pre season.

"I had a good chat with Martin O'Neill at the end of last when Ryan had been on loan with us," Cooper told us. 

"Martin is a real football man and I liked what he had to say about the game so I'm really looking forward to meeting him. 

"I'm sure Ryan will get a nice reception if he does play tonight, because I thought he did well for us and is going to be a very good player."

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