Comment: Hartlepool United get off to delayed but ideal start to summer recruitment with more set to follow

Good things come to those who wait.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 12:12 pm

Over two weeks have passed since Hartlepool United clinched promotion back to the Football League and the recruitment ball is finally rolling.

With a month to go until the start of the League Two season on August 7, Pools have tied down their two most experienced players in Gary Liddle and Nicky Featherstone.

The pair were linchpins in Hartlepool’s successful promotion push in the second half of the 2020-21 campaign.

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Nicky Featherstone and Ryan Donaldson of Hartlepool United lift the Vanarama National League Trophy during the Vanarama National League Play-Off Final match between Hartlepool United and Torquay United at Ashton Gate on June 20, 2021 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Despite Featherstone and Liddle’s respective ages of 32 and 35, offering new contracts was always going to be a no brainer.

Both were subject to interest from elsewhere but have chosen to commit their future to the club with a one year deal for Liddle and two years for Featherstone, who is now set to pass the 300 appearance mark for the club during the 2021-22 season.

With 326 Hartlepool appearances to his name, Liddle is just 24 appearances away from breaking into the club’s all time top 10 list.

Both players are club legends – whether they care to admit it or not – and their new contracts have provided an ideal start to the club’s recruitment.

Gary Liddle at the end Hartlepool United 3-2 Bromley FC National League Playoff. 06-06-20212. Picture by FRANK REID

Dave Challinor has a platform to build from with six key first team players now tied down, but there’s still plenty of work to do.

The fact Jamie Sterry and Rhys Oates are yet to sign for another club despite well documented interest from the likes of Notts County, Sunderland and Bradford City, is encouraging given that they have both been offered new deals at Pools.

Discussions are still ongoing with winger Luke Molyneux, who has been subject to League Two and National League interest – most notably from Torquay United. But the 23-year-old is understood to favour staying in the north east with Pools, providing he can get a decent run of games in the side.

Ben Killip's future remains up in the air with former Pools goalkeeper Trevor Carson being linked with a return from Motherwell, although there has been no new details on that since the initial reported interest last month.

In these cases, no news certainly isn’t bad news, it’s just a case of watching the space.

Still, it’s the manager’s contract that remains the most important to tie down.

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