Former Gateshead defender Jon Mellish is set to deliver a blow to Hartlepool United’s transfer plans as he closes in on a move to a Football League club.
The England C centre-back, a native of South Shields, was one of the Heed’s most consistent performers last season as they made a mockery of pre-season predictions of a relegation battle by securing a top ten finish in the National League.
The 21-year-old has attracted interest from a number of Football League National League clubs, including Pools, since his Gateshead contract expired three weeks ago.
After his rapid development from Northern Alliance player to Gateshead regular and international recognition, Mellish explained that he is being cautious over his next move but admitted that a deal is getting closer.
He said: “It’s been three weeks since the end of the season and I have had a few phone calls from a number of clubs.
“One of the clubs is going quicker than others, which is great, but I am still deciding what is best for me.
“It’s a big move for me because I am still only young, but I want to go somewhere and play 30 or 40 games, rather that sitting on the bench and being in and out of a team.
“There is interest from National League clubs and there are some Football League clubs too.
“I want to be in the Football League at some point, and if you had said to me at the start of the season that I could get a move like that I would have laughed at you.
“There are some details to be sorted with the move and there is still work to be done.
“But I just want to play and make sure that I move to a club where I can do that.”
Mellish reflected on “a mad season” at Gateshead as they narrowly missed out on securing a play-off place, despite having to contend with a number of off-field distractions.
The young defender paid tribute to the work done by former Heed boss Ben Clark and admitted that his support was vital in his progression throughout the campaign.
“It did feel like it was one thing after another, and it was really a mad season for us all.
“But I have enjoyed it all to be honest.
“I have played regularly; I have had the England C call-ups and I have had got more and more confident throughout the season.
“Obviously Ben Clark been massive, and I couldn’t have had anyone better to take me from under-19s to looking after me in the first team and playing under him.
“He has been at the club a long time, and he has always believed and backed me.
“If I have made a mistake, he has supported me and I owe him a lot.”