JOHN Hughes hopes to make Middlesbrough midfielder Matty Dolan his first signing for Hartlepool United.
The 19-year-old – a former English Martyrs pupil – is a boyhood supporter of Pools having grown up in the town.
Dolan is currently training with the squad at Maiden Castle, although a loan deal with the Teessiders can not be struck until January.
However, Hughes admits that he must first “shuffle his pack” elsewhere in a bid to free funds to allow for Dolan’s arrival.
And that could see at least one first-team player leave Victoria Park on loan in the coming weeks, with the Pools boss determined to land the deep-lying midfielder.
“We’re fortunate in that we’ve got the opportunity for Matty to train with us and we can have a look at him,” said Hughes, whose side take on Portsmouth at the Vic tomorrow afternoon (kick off 3pm).
“It just so happens that Matty is a supporter of the club as well – that appeals to me.
“I saw him playing against Chelsea the other week and was tipped off about him.
“He’s one that we would like to bring to the club – he fits the bill.”
Hughes went on: “But we’re right on the brink of that 65-per-cent rule (amount of income which can be spent on wages).
“So for us to do anything we’re going to have to shuffle the pack a wee bit, one or two might have to go out on loan.
“If that does happen then Matty will be one we’re looking to bring in.”
Hughes has used his first five weeks at the Vic to make himself known to the region’s bigger clubs.
He has taken in several reserve and youth-team fixtures and is keen to develop contacts throughout the North-East.
“I’ve been working very hard in terms of looking at what’s going about,” said Hughes.
“I’ve been out at Middlesbrough and Sunderland.
“I know Tony (Mowbray) well from my time up in Scotland, so that’s a help.
“I’m seeing if we can get a list of good, young players who are knocking about in the region.
“We need one or two in here and hopefully that can happen.”