Graeme Lee gives Hartlepool United transfer update after Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder's Pools claim

Graeme Lee has reiterated his scouting network goes beyond that of former club Middlesbrough but admits he is keeping tabs on developments at the Riverside.

Monday, 3rd January 2022, 6:00 am

Former Boro academy coach Lee was with the Teessiders for over a decade and will have his finger on the pulse when it comes to any potential talent breaking through the ranks at Middlesbrough.

The Hartlepool United boss has already suggested he has been in contact with his former employers ahead of the January transfer window but is keen to stress Pools are searching across the country for players to bolster the squad at the Suit Direct Stadium.

“Look we’re speaking all the time but we’re not just speaking to Middlesbrough we’ve got targets all around the country. We’re speaking to other clubs,” Lee told The Mail.

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Graeme Lee reacts to Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder's claims over Hartlepool United transfer hopes. Picture by FRANK REID

“We want to be in a rush and we want to bring people in but we have to be patient as well.

“We’ve spoken, but I speak to Middlesbrough and members of staff at the club quite regularly just to make sure I’m up to date with what’s going on.”

But while there may be an array of talent among the Boro ranks with the likes of Josh Coburn and Isaiah Jones progressing into Chris Wilder’s first team this season, with Connor Malley and Williams Kokolo perhaps the next in line, Pools boss Lee has been told he will not necessarily be at the front of the queue to take some of the Boro youngsters this month.

Wilder recently made comment to the fact Boro are not a feeder club to Pools and that Lee, despite his strong connections with the club, will have to go through the same procedure as any other potential suitors.

“I think Hartlepool would quite fancy a few of our players but we’re not a feeder club for Hartlepool,” said Wilder.

“He’ll have to go through the correct process. There will be other clubs in for the players as they have been always.

“The players that are out on loan, they are good players and they are out there for a reason.”

Boro, like many teams at the moment, are struggling with the demands of the COVID environment in football after their New Year’s Day fixture with Sheffield United was postponed due to an outbreak of cases amongst the players and staff on Teesside which has led to Wilder recalling a selection of younger players from their loan deals.

It means any deals Lee had been hoping to strike with his former players may need a little more time to get over the line this month as Wilder assesses the impact of COVID-19 on his squad.

“They have their plans for the players which I know because I was there, so they’ll have certain plans for certain players to go out and they’ll have certain plans for players to stay in,” Lee told The Mail.

“We’ve made enquiries but every club is finding it difficult at the moment because of COVID outbreaks and I think clubs are a bit more reluctant to give certain players who could end up being a fringe player, or players who could impact their first team.”

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