NEALE Cooper admits that the Hartlepool United future of Gary Liddle is very much uncertain.
The 25-year-old remains in talks with the club having failed to come to an agreement over a new deal this week.
Liddle is out of contract and, while the player has gone on the record in declaring his desire to be at Victoria Park next season, he is now also free to talk to other clubs.
And, speaking to SportMail today, Cooper explained: “We’ll just have to see what happens with Gary.
“He is a free player at the moment and he can do what he likes.”
It was 12 months ago that the club exercised their option to extend the contract of Liddle by one year having failed to reach terms on a new, long-term deal.
In that time the midfielder has appeared in 41 of the 49 matches this season and ended his campaign in scoring fashion with a stunning strike in last Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Charlton Athletic.
But Cooper has long since expressed his frustration with Liddle’s overall form and has demanded more from the former Middlesbrough trainee.
And the Scot went on: “Gary has played a lot of games under me and was in the team right until the end of the season.
“But he can do better than he has done since Christmas.
“He’s still a good footballer, though, and we’ll have to see what happens.”
Liddle’s future has been cast in further doubt by yesterday’s news that anchorman Paul Murray will remain at the club for another season.
Cooper told us last month that a new central midfielder was top of his summer wish list and whether or not he can afford to keep Liddle as well as bringing in fresh blood in that position remains to be seen.