Pools’ search for a goalkeeper has been ramped up this week following the exit of Jonathan Mitchell after the former Newcastle United stopper failed to reach an agreement with the club over a new deal to extend his stay at the Suit Direct Stadium.
Mitchell arrived from Derby County in the summer but made just eight appearances for the club before his short term contract expired at the beginning of the month.
Mitchell’s exit leaves Pools in a precarious position with Ben Killip as the only recognised goalkeeper available to Lee with youngster Patrick Boyes still in his development stages with the club.
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Pools had been close to agreeing terms with former goalkeeper Trevor Carson earlier in the window before the ex-Sunderland man chose to join Morecambe in League One.
Lee revealed Pools have had a number of goalkeepers on trial at the club’s training base this month but admits he needs to decide whether he wants a permanent transfer or a loan option to compete with Killip for the number one spot.
“We had someone coming in and training. That was for us to have a look and see how he was,” Lee told The Mail.
“We’ve got a couple of options there but we need to look at whether it’s a loan or a permanent option we’re trying to bring in.
“We’ve got a couple of loan options which we know could be decent keepers for us but we’re also, on the back burner, keeping an eye on something permanently as well.
“That’s why we’re being a bit more patient and we’re not jumping into something, we’re just waiting to see if something becomes available.”
The alternative for Pools, should no goalkeeper be forthcoming over the remaining 10 days of the transfer window, would be for Lee to put his faith in teenager Boyes to provide back-up for Killip.
Boyes arrived in October after a spell with Grimsby Town’s youth programme as a third choice for Pools in the event of a COVID or an injury crisis within the squad in that position.
The 19-year-old has trained well since Lee’s arrival at the club but the Pools boss conceded it may be too soon to put Boyes into the starting XI with the club keen to continue his progression.
“Patrick’s development is good. He’s impressed through the season but at this moment we need somebody in who’s going to be pushing Ben,” Lee explained.
“We need that stature. So we need another keeper.
“To put Patrick in at the moment might be a big ask for him so we do need an extra keeper in.”
Boyes has been named as a substitute in each of the last five matchday squads since the turn of the New Year following the expiry of Mitchell’s contract and is expected to retain his spot on the bench for the visit of Stevenage this weekend.