Pools players remain in dark as John Hughes admits budget will be cut

MEETING John Hughes (centre) with Russ Green (left)
MEETING John Hughes (centre) with Russ Green (left)
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JOHN Hughes accepts that Hartlepool United’s budget will have to be cut following relegation to League Two.

Pools’ out-of-contract players remain uncertain as to their future today - they are still to be contacted by the club - and several are on holiday together in Spain this week.

Hughes, along with chairman, Ken Hodcroft, and chief executive, Russ Green, will determine which players will be retained.

However, given the financial implications of demotion to the bottom tier, this process could take longer than in previous seasons.

“This week is about sitting down – communication is a massive part of a football club and we have to sit down and talk about where we want to go,” Hughes told SportMail.

“We need to draw up a strategy and the ideas I’ve got will hopefully marry up with the chairman’s and Russ’s ideas and the budget.”

Hughes, though, admits the sums will have to add up.

“There’s an understanding from me that in this financial climate things are different after relegation,” he went on.

“Finances are different in League Two and there has to be an understanding that you can only get the players in that the budget allows.

“We will look at it all and keep players what the budget demands, so there’s a lot of hard work to be done over the summer.”

Senior players Neil Austin, Sam Collins, Evan Horwood, Ritchie Humphreys, Andy Monkhouse, James Poole and Nathan Luscombe are among those whose deals expire next month.

There are also trialists such as former Crawley Town striker, Richard Brodie, and ex Newcastle United reserve-team midfielder, Mark Doninger, waiting to hear back from the club.

Meanwhile, several League One clubs have announced their retained lists, including northern rivals Carlisle United.

Former Pools man Matty Robson has been handed a two-year extension, but among those released are long-serving Peter Murphy, wideman Jon-Paul McGovern, goalkeeper Adam Collin and striker Rory Loy.

And it would not be a surprise to see some of those names appear on trial with Pools when pre-season training resumes in July.

Brunton Park boss Greg Abbott and assistant Graham Kavanagh are also due to resume their contract talks later this week.