GARY Liddle has indicated for the first time that he will still be a Hartlepool United player next season.
The 25-year-old did not sign the new contract offered to him by the club last May and Pools were forced to invoke a one-year extension option.
That deal expires this summer and there had been fears that Liddle could walk away as a free agent.
But the midfielder, who had been watched by the likes of Huddersfield Town and former club Middlesbrough towards the back end of last season, now looks set to remain at Victoria Park.
“There are a lot of players out of contract this summer,” said Liddle, who is among a number including Adam Boyd, James Brown, Paul Murray, Steve Haslam, Colin Larkin and Nobby Solano whose deals are up for renewal.
“Neale (Cooper) is a relatively new manager and he’ll have his own ideas.
“If players are out of contract there might be a handful that he does not want.
“He’ll look to ship them out and create a bit of space for his own people.
“If players can perform well between now and the end of the season – including myself – then hopefully we’ll be okay.
“I think it will be a good year next season with Neale in charge and hopefully it will be a successful one.”