Hartlepool United could ‘find it difficult’ to keep some players next season admits manager Dave Challinor as he discusses new contracts

Hartlepool United have reached that stage of the season where new contract discussions could soon be taking place as the side prepare for the 2021-22 campaign.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 6:00 am

With Pools currently sitting second in the National League table with 10 games remaining, manager Dave Challinor has to cover his side for both a potential season in League Two or another in the National League.

Most of Hartlepool’s players are out of contract at the end of the season though they do have extension options on a few. Gavan Holohan, Joe Grey and Brad Young are among the few who have been revealed to be already tied down beyond the summer.

The Mail understands that two more players are also contracted for next season though their identities have not been divulged by the club.

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Hartlepool United's Luke Armstrong celebrates after scoring to make it 1-1 during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Yeovil Town at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 20th February 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

And at this stage, no new contract announcements are thought to be imminent.

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When asked if there had been any progress regarding new deals for his players, Challinor told The Mail: “Not at the moment, we’ve had a chat with our staff in terms of where we are and what we want to do.

"There are things going on behind the scenes above our pay grade in terms of budgets and you have to make different plans for different eventualities.”

Challinor also doesn’t want the distraction of announcing new deals for certain players while the side are focused on promotion.

"It’s always a hard one with contracts and extending them because you don’t want to rock the boat,” he added.

“I think where we are, I’ve been in situations like this before where we’ve got a squad who have the potential to go and achieve something this season.

"You can go blue sky thinking and go ‘we can get better there, there and there’ but the players we’ve had in have done brilliantly.

"If we can keep as much continuity as we can moving forward into next season then that’ll definitely help us.

"If we can keep the group together then that would be brilliant."

The Pools boss was also realistic in admitting that the side may struggle to keep hold of some players for next season.

Top scorer Luke Armstrong’s loan from Salford City is up at the end of the season and Pools would struggle to sign the striker on a permanent basis, particularly if they remained in the National League.

Jamie Sterry is also likely to return to the Football League following the expiration of his short-term deal at Victoria Park.

“I think that’s pretty obvious, with our budget and what we’d be looking for, it would be a big ask,” Challinor continued.

“We may find it difficult to keep a few players come the end of the season. We’ve had a significantly lower budget this season compared to previous seasons but that’s given lads an opportunity to go and prove themselves and show what they can do and in most cases they’ve done that.

"There will be different offers and options for them and we’ve got to keep hold of as many as we can.

"The players who have come in this season haven’t had the opportunity to play in front of our fans but once that happens, the place as a whole becomes even more of an attractive proposition.”

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