Cooper backs Howard to shine

Steve Howard: Backed by the boss

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Hartlepool boss Colin Cooper has backed veteran striker Steve Howard to win over the club's fans.

Howard, who spent the latter part of last season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, was greeted with a mixed reception when introduced from the bench during Saturday's 1-0 defeat at home to Southend.

But Cooper insists the 37-year-old is more than aware of his current status among the Pools faithful.

"Stevie realises he has to win everyone over," Cooper told the Hartlepool Mail.

"The way to do that is keep working up to match fitness and then score goals - that will turn the crowd.

"And that is what he wants to do, he wants to get fitter to make the people believe he is the player he can be and wants to be.

"We will work away with him because we want him on from the start. But he knows his body better than anyone, so we will use him how we can."