Blackburn Rovers and Stockport County loan players not available to take part in National League play-offs for Hartlepool United should side get there
Hartlepool United currently sit top of the National League table and are close to guaranteeing a play-off spot for the first time in the fifth tier – but a few players are set to miss out.
With six games remaining, Pools sit a point clear at the top of the table but will likely drop a couple of places by the time they play their next game against Chesterfield next Saturday (5:20pm kick-off).
If Dave Challinor’s side can’t win the league then play-off matches will be the next best route back to the Football League.
Following Thursday’s registration deadline, Hartlepool’s squad is now locked in for the remainder of the season, with two exceptions.
Loan players Richie Bennett and Tom White will not be eligible to compete in any potential Pools play-off matches this campaign. The number of loans at the club means another loanee is also guaranteed to miss out.
This is due to White’s loan from Blackburn Rovers expiring on May 15 and Bennett’s loan from Stockport County not allowing him to compete in any play-off matches for Pools with The Hatters also likely to be taking part.
Bennett also has a recall clause in his loan that can be triggered at any point from April 29. White’s loan from Blackburn will see him miss the final two matches of Pools’ league campaign against Sutton United and Weymouth.
The rest of the squad are contracted to take part in the play-offs.
For loan players, Pools will need to be granted permission from the players’ parent clubs in order for them to take part in any play-off matches.
But Pools will only be able to name a maximum of five loan players as part of their matchday squad, meaning one player would have to miss out.
Luke Armstrong, Lewis Cass, Henrich Ravas, Jake Cooper, Brad James and Harvey Saunders’ respective loans run until the end of Pools’ 2020-21 campaign, whatever date that may be.
The league season ends on May 29 with the first round of play-off matches taking place on the weekend of June 5. The semi-finals will take place the following weekend and the final the weekend of June 19.