Seven players who could leave Hartlepool United in the January transfer window

Trevor Carson makes an easy catch in Pools' recent win over Accrington Stanley

Trevor Carson makes an easy catch in Pools' recent win over Accrington Stanley

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It looks set to be a busy January transfer window for Hartlepool United and Craig Hignett.

But probably not for the reasons the manager or the fans would hope.

Pools may have to move first-team players on out of necessity

Pools writer Liam Kennedy

More faces are likely to leave the Northern Gas & Power Stadium over the course of the next month, than are likely to come in.

Off field talk has overshadowed the team’s preparations for the Boxing Day clash with Blackpool at the Vic, with financial issues again coming to the fore.

And as a result it might be the case that Pools have to move first-team players on out of necessity, just to make sure manager Craig Hignett can keep the wolf from the door this campaign.

Here we take a look at seven Pools players who could leave this window.

Nathan Thomas

If Pools need to cash in this window then Thomas is easily the most saleable asset on the books.

But, as we all know, there is one problem with this theory - the winger has been out injured after a knee op, since November.

While Thomas has more than proven his ability far out-stretches the fourth tier, one or two potential suitors may be put off, in the early stages of January at least, by his lack of fitness and gametime.

One thing that is not in doubt with Thomas is that one day, he will leave Pools for bigger and better things. He’s too talented.

Brad Walker

A player who really has struggled to get a look in.

At one point in his career Walker seemed destined for much better things. A trial at Championship outfit Wolves in 2015 almost brought about a permanent move for the youngster, who burst on the Pools scene with a number of impressive midfield performances.

But that moved failed to materialise and Walker remained. Sadly, though, things have never really got any better for the midfielder.

Walker has made just one first-team start so far this season.

Rob Jones

A player who, despite his experience and talents, has not played anywhere near enough football at the club this season.

It would be absolutely no shock if Jones is one of those who Hignett sees fit to move on, in order to get a player capable of playing week after week.

Billy Paynter

Pools have a tailor-made goalscorer at League Two level sitting on their bench, week-in, week-out.

Not many of the top sides in the division can say that, never mind those near the bottom.

The player can’t be happy watching from the bench, not when he was such a key figure last season.

Josh Laurent

Another one of Pools’ main saleable assets.

Laurent has, at times, this campaign looked the real deal.

But at present he is still raw - Laurent is still a young player, learning his trade, having only broken into first-team football this season.

And as a result the amount of cash teams may put down for Laurent might not be enough to tempt Pools to cash in, just yet.

Michael Woods

A veteran of three seasons at Pools, Woods has found his route to the first-team blocked.

Injuries have played their part this season, but Lewis Hawkins, Nicky Featherstone and Laurent have been preferred more often than not, even when former Chelsea man Woods has been fit.

It will be interesting to see whether Woods is one of those who Hignett allows to leave.

Trevor Carson

Now, this may be a controversial one.

Let me explain.

With Pools needing to lose players before they can add, they need to be clever about the way they conduct their business.

While Carson is one of their best players, a top class character, on and off the field, and not someone you’d usually want to lose, Pools do have a pretty handy understudy waiting in the wings.

Should the club sell Carson they are likely to make a tidy penny to add to the manager’s budget, and already have a ready-made replacement in Adam Bartlett available.