Graeme Lee explains the decision to allow former Blackpool, Carlisle United and Port Vale striker to leave Hartlepool United

Graeme Lee has explained the decision to allow Mark Cullen to leave Hartlepool United on a permanent deal.

By Joe Ramage
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 4:45 pm

Pools announced the exit of the striker on Tuesday ahead of their match with Colchester United as Cullen headed to National League North side AFC Fylde.

And while Lee’s side were sealing a dramatic come-from-behind win over Colchester, some 270-miles away Cullen came on for his debut for the Coasters against Pools’ rivals Darlington.

Cullen made 27 appearances for Pools scoring six goals following his summer move from Port Vale.

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Mark Cullen left Hartlepool United to join AFC Fylde. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

But following the arrivals of Omar Bogle and Marcus Carver, Cullen’s opportunities have been limited with his most recent start coming against Charlton Athletic in the EFL Trophy.

And Lee believes it was a decision which suited both parties.

“I’ve had many conversations with Culls. He was disappointed not to be involved,” said Lee.

“We brought Omar in and we brought Carvs in and big Fletch can do a job up there.

Mark Cullen saw his opportunities limited at Hartlepool United after the January transfer window. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

“There was a period where his wife was ill a few weeks ago and he had some time at home and I think it was a move to suit being closer to his family.

“If he was playing week-in-week-out it would be a different story but I said I’d have selfishly kept him in the squad because he’s a great lad, a great character and gives everything he can on the pitch.

“It was one of those moments where he said he wanted [the move] and as soon as he said he wanted it I don’t want people who are wanting away to be around the club, even though I know he’d have been professional and done things right.

“So it suited him and it suited us in the end.”

Cullen took to social media to ‘wish everyone associated with the club all the best for the future’ admitting he had some ‘good times’ in his short spell at the Suit Direct Stadium.

And Pools boss Lee has wished the 29-year-old well in his future endeavours.

“He’s got a move and I wish him all the best,” said Lee.

“I think Fylde have got themselves an immense signing for that level because he’s a good player at our level so good luck to him and hopefully they’ll get promoted because he deserves to play higher.”

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