Clock ticking on Pools bid to strengthen as takeover set to be rubber-stamped

Hartlepool United face a race against time to get Raj Singh's takeover ratified in order to strengthen their ranks.

Thursday, 22nd March 2018, 6:00 am
Pools' Rhys Oates (right) breaks past Barrow's Moussa Diarra last night. Picture by Steve Flynn/

The National League deadline for signing players is 5pm this afternoon.

And in order for Pools to bring in much-needed reinforcements, the club must prove they have the funds to see out the season.

The Mail has learned the league are unlikely to agree to this without Singh’s Pools takeover being complete.

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Pools have been under a league enforced transfer embargo since October, having been unable to prove they will be able to fulfil their fixtures, due to current owner John Blackledge pulling the plug on the club financially.

Prospective new director of football Craig Hignett is keen to add players to Pools’ ranks, with the club short on senior professionals, having lost the likes of Keith Watson, Connor Simpson, Nicky Deverdics and Jonathan Franks in the January transfer window.

Of course, previous boss Craig Harrison and current caretaker Matthew Bates have been unable to replace those who have departed due to the club’s predicament.

But light is finally at the end of the tunnel for the club, who had been facing up to the prospect of administration as soon as this weekend, should a Singh takeover not materialise.

Less than 24 hours ago, Singh’s bid looked as though it was dead in the water.

A disagreement between Singh and Blackledge led to the Teesside businessman walking away from talks.

But a phone call from Blackledge, desperate to sell up, put things back on track.

And an agreement was reached just hours before Pools’ relegation six-pointer against Barrow last night, providing a very rare boost for Poolies.

The takeover could well go through today, but whether that will be in enough time for Hignett & Co to strengthen remains to be seen.

Sources close to the Singh camp believe the chances of being able to have the transfer embargo lifted today are slim, but they are not ruling it out. It’s understood, should Hignett be given the green light, he will look to add at least two new faces before 5pm.