Craig Hignett is not ruling out a return to Hartlepool United for Middlesbrough centre-back Adam Jackson.
The 22-year-old was crowned Pools’ Young Player of the Year after starring on loan and the club is keen to bring Jackson back for a second spell.
Pools have already added central defender Toto Nsiala, while experienced Rob Jones has penned a new contract but Hignett is looking for another defensive recruit.
Hignett, though, concedes clubs have to carefully consider their options after the emergency loan window was scrapped - with clubs only able to sign players on full or half-season loans during the summer and winter transfer windows.
“Adam is always a possibility,” Hignett told SportMail.
“We are trying to sort something out and if it happens or not, I don’t know. Jacko did well last season for us.
“He would be a great addition to the squad.
“I want a tight squad, 20-22 players here.
“The loan system is changing so it makes it harder to sign players as they have to be here for full or half-season loans.
“The National League could be the place to send players, and if we get players in they have to be the right type.
“If you take someone then they have to play really.
“You can stifle players with the new loan system.
“Jacko played 32 games or so last season, did well, and then he could go on loan next season to a higher division and not play.
“That’s going to be a choice for players and agents have to be aware.”
Hignett, meanwhile, has confirmed forward Luke James won’t be heading back for a third spell.
Pools had been in negotiations with Peterborough United but a deal could not be struck.
“Luke is someone we looked at,” added Hignett.
“He’s a great kid and we were keen, we did talk to Peterborough but a deal couldn’t be reached.
“That is where it is.”
One former player that could yet have a future back at Pools is defender Scott Harrison.
Harrison is recovering from a broken toe, but Hignett admits the door is open for a return after his release in the summer.
He’s currently undergoing rehabilitation work with Stuart Parnaby, the club’s strength and conditioning coach. Hignett said: “By the time we get back from Tenerife, Scotty should be ready to join in. “He’s a great lad, I know that. He lost his way a little bit last season and I won’t shut the door on him. “The season before last he was fantastic.”
Meanwhile, Pools have taken highly-rated former Guisborough defender Andrew May and 21-year-old Andre Bennett - son of Sunderland legend Gary Bennett - on trial for a week.
Bennett was released by Middlesbrough in the summer. “Andre, I know from Boro really well and he did well at Gateshead last season,” added Hignett. “And Andrew May, everyone has said good things about him so we will have a look. “We will have a few triallists in over the close season.”