Dave Challinor has final say on which Hartlepool United players are handed new deals

Mark Maguire insists Dave Challinor will have the final say on which Hartlepool United players are handed new deals - with just eight currently under contract for next season.
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The coronavirus pandemic has led to the 2019-20 National League campaign being cancelled, with promotion and relegation issues to be decided, though given Pools are outside the play-off spots, a fourth season in the fifth tier beckons.

Clubs are having to plan and budget without knowing when the 2020-21 campaign will be able to start and Pools, like many National League clubs, see the majority of their squad out of contract.

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Just eight are under contract next season, including the likes of Ben Killip, Gus Mafuta and Luke Molyneux.

Victoria Park, home of Hartlepool United.Victoria Park, home of Hartlepool United.
Victoria Park, home of Hartlepool United.

Pools chief executive Maguire met with the HUFC Fans Forum via a video call on Monday to address a number of issues.

The minutes of the fan meeting have now been published by Hartlepool United Supporters’ Trust (HUST).

Minute’s from the meeting, held before the season was cancelled, read: “It is also unlikely that football will resume in the next 2-3 months and the priority for the NL management is to protect the overall league as a competition.

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“If the season were to end early, then there is a potential risk to the club in terms of sponsorship and ticket income and the club are planning for every eventuality in this regard.

“There are eight players under contract for next season and Dave Challinor retains full decision over the playing squad – subject to the budget available – for next season.

“The club has some players out of contract on 2nd of May and others at the end of June, however, it will be DC’s choice as to which players are offered new deals.”

Key players such as Nicky Featherstone, Gavan Holohan and Luke James were three of those believed to be in Challinor’s thoughts regarding contract extensions, before all football was suspended.

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Speaking in February, Challinor told the Mail: “These are the players who get the club and get what the minimum requirements are and understand the criticism and expectation that comes with it.

“They will be a big part of what we’re trying to do moving forward.”