HARTLEPOOL United are likely to field several enquiries for Scott Flinders over the coming weeks – and John Hughes believes the club boast the best goalkeeper in League One.
That Pools are headed for League Two next season is almost certain to prompt the 26-year-old’s exit, with a clutch of Championship sides readying an approach.
Flinders has one year remaining on his current deal at Victoria Park and so it is hoped Pools will be able to command a sizeable fee for his services.
He took a clean sweep of the club’s Player of the Year prizes last weekend and, for Hughes, the netminder is at the very top of his game.
“His form since I came in has been outstanding, it has never dipped,” the Scot told SportMail.
“Scotty is the best goalkeeper in this division from what I’ve seen.
“Some of his saves have been incredible. He has kept us in matches and has won us matches.”
Before signing for Pools from Crystal Palace in 2009, Flinders enjoyed a loan spell under Hughes at Falkirk.
Hughes, though, sees a significant improvement in his No.1.
“Just working with him every day I can see he’s changed from when I had him up in Scotland,” he went on. “He’s a man now, he was just a boy back then.
“He has a real, strong mental mindset.
“As a goalkeeper you need that focus, that determination not to be beaten.
“He has that as well as all the physical attributes, the size and the agility.”
Should Flinders move on then Pools’ close-season priority would be to bring in a replacement.
Current deputy, Andy Rafferty, has missed the bulk of the season because of a knee injury and he is out of contract in June.
Adam McHugh has been an unused substitute for the entirety of the campaign but his deal also expires this summer.