Hartlepool United announce new contract agreement for Aaron Cunningham as Dave Challinor prepares to look at loan market

Aaron Cunningham in action for Hartlepool. Picture by Frank ReidAaron Cunningham in action for Hartlepool. Picture by Frank Reid
Aaron Cunningham in action for Hartlepool. Picture by Frank Reid
Hartlepool United now have 16 senior players contracted for the 2020-21 campaign after Aaron Cunningham’s contract renewal was confirmed.

The 22-year-old defender featured 11 times for Pools during an injury-hit 2019-20 season before being loaned out to National League North side Blyth Spartans for the second half of the campaign.

Last month, Hartlepool manager Dave Challinor told The Mail: “Aaron has signed and it’s all done, it’s been agreed for a while it’s just a case with furlough we’ve not been able to announce anything.

“He’s back training now and looks in good shape to be fair.

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"He’s got the bit between his teeth and wants to push to be starting and having a positive season.

"I’ve had an honest conversation with Aaron and told him it’s important this year that he uses the opportunity to stake his claim if you like."

Cunningham’s season extension follows the news of eight new arrivals at Victoria Park so far this month.

David Ferguson and Mason Bloomfield were confirmed on Wednesday evening while Mark Shelton, Timi Odusina, Gary Liddle, Rhys Oates, Josh MacDonald and Claudio Ofosu have also been confirmed as new arrivals.

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With Liddle and Odusina ending last season as Pools’ starting centre-backs, Cunningham will have to avoid injury and fight for his place going into the new campaign.

Challinor added: “If [Cunningham cannot tie down a starting position], we’ve had a chat and we’re both on the same page in terms of this year he needs to play, 30, 35 games and if he can’t do that with us then we’ll make sure he does get those games somewhere on loan and he’s totally on board with that.”

With 16 players now signed up ahead of the proposed National League start date on October 3, Pools’ business in terms of permanent signings is likely to cool off.

Joe Grey remains on a youth contract with the set-up uncertain and Luke Williams is still training with the side but is yet to agree a deal.

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And with Challinor looking to run with a senior squad of no more than 20, he will now cast his eye towards the loan market with Macauley Southam-Hales a top target.

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