No sanctioned fire sale at Hartlepool United - but manager Craig Harrison expecting departures

Hartlepool United chiefs have not yet sanctioned an expected fire sale, despite the club's dire financial plight.

Monday, 29th January 2018, 8:00 am
Rhys Oates

But that landscape could be shaped by off-field developments, or a lack of, in the next 48 hours.

The January transfer window closes on Wednesday, with clubs inside the Football League pyramid needing to tie their business up by 11pm that night.

Of course, that does not apply to clubs outside the top four tiers.

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But with a number of League Two clubs sniffing around a couple of members of the Pools squad, with Rhys Oates (pictured) and Liam Donnelly the main targets of scouts, Pools could be faced with a conundrum of selling to keep the club alive, much like they did with Connor Simpson, whose £50,000 transfer fee, paid up front by Preston North End, contributed to covering the playing budget wage bill which reportedly totals around £115,000 a month.

At this stage, though, Pools are not resorting to that.

The Mail understands that the belief inside the halls of power at Pools is that the playing budget has been cut enough since last summer. They understand the squad is at breaking point due to recent departures and injury and think cutting further would severely damage Craig Harrison’s hand, as the club bid to avoid being sucked into the National League bottom four.

It’s difficult to see them knocking back any cash offers for players, though, despite their concerns.

Harrison is yet to be told whether his squad will be weakened over the next few weeks, although he knows it will not be strengthened, with no end in sight for the club’s transfer embargo.

An eternal optimist by nature, the manager is hopeful it won’t come to that. Although, he’s also a realist.

“Moving players on has not been thrown at my door yet - but it’s something I have to think about and expect it the future perhaps,” said Harrison.

“Realistically it could be thrown in my direction and we’ll deal with it as I see fit.”