Hartlepool United transfer news: Matthew Bates delivers verdict on new signing as defender arrives from Stoke City
Hartlepool United have bolstered their defensive options with the signing of James Butler on loan from Championship outfit Stoke City.
The 18-year-old centre-back has arrived on a short term loan deal until the middle of January, with Matthew Bates explaining it gives him the chance to take a closer look at the promising defender with a "view to something more long-term."
Bates has confirmed that the hard work continues behind the scenes to bolster the squad further, with goal-shy Pools also in desperate need of signing a striker.
Butler played against Pools in the recent FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying Round win over Kidsgrove Athletic, Bates impressed with the defender's performance that day during a loan spell from Stoke.
He won't be able to play against Gillingham in the first round proper of the competition on Saturday as he is cup tied.
Bates said: "I liked the look of James from the moment I saw him play in their FA Cup replay against Workington.
"He has done extremely well for Kidsgrove, stood out against Workington and I also thought he had a very good game when they played up here against us.
"He’s obviously still very young but I was really impressed with the way he acquitted himself and with the reports I have had about him so this deal allows us to have a closer look at him with a view to something more long-term.
"The work is continuing behind the scenes and we’re chasing up a number of targets in various positions so I can assure fans we’re doing everything we can to strengthen the squad."
Butler, who has been handed squad number four, tweeted: "Buzzing to have joined @Official_HUFC on loan, can’t wait to get started.
"Also big thanks to everyone at @officialkafc for everything they did for me while I was there on loan, all the best for the rest of the season"
Meanwhile, a date has been confirmed for Pools’ Durham County Challenge Cup second round tie against Ryton & Crawcrook Albion.
Pools will host the Northern League Division Two outfit at The Super 6 Stadium on Wednesday, December 5th (KO 7.30pm).
Pools made it through after a 2-1 victory at Sunderland Westend. Ryton beat Easington Colliery.
Admission prices are Â£5 for adults and Â£3 for concessions.