Hartlepool United manager Paul Hartley reveals the latest on out-of-contract players including former Sunderland striker

Paul Hartley confirms he has spoken to some of his new Hartlepool United players and is looking forward to meeting them in person with several contract issues still to iron out.

By Joe Ramage
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 6:00 am

Pools, who have confirmed midfielder Mark Shelton’s new contract, return to pre-season duty next week and will meet new manager Hartley in person for the first time since his appointment.

But Hartley is under no illusions as to what is awaiting him with Pools considerably low on numbers ahead of their return to pre-season.

The club confirmed the release of four players this summer in Olufela Olomola, Martin Smith, Zaine Francis-Angol and Josh MacDonald.

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Paul Hartley will speak with Hartlepool United's out-of-contract players face-to-face when they return to pre-season. Picture by FRANk REID

Add in the return of loan players Nicholas Bilokapic, Jake Hull, Bryn Morris, Isaac Fletcher and Joe White and the Pools squad is some way short of where Hartley needs it to be ahead of the start of the new season next month.

Hartley’s cause wasn’t helped by the news Gary Liddle would also be leaving the club at the end of his contract this month.

The Pools legend declined terms on a new deal to remain at the Suit Direct Stadium instead agreeing a move to non-league side South Shields where he will officially join next month.

And despite Shelton committing his future to the club, Hartley still has three outstanding members of the squad yet to agree deals for the new season in Timi Odusina, Jordan Cook and last season’s player of the year Luke Molyneux.

Luke Molyneux's contract with Hartlepool United is set to expire with the striker yet to agree a new deal. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

All three will be important for Hartley to develop the strength of his squad, but Molyneux and Odusina in particular will be two the new manager will be keen to tie down ahead of their deals expiring at the end of the month.

“They’re high on the list [of players to speak to] but they’ll all be high on the list,” Hartley told The Mail.

“I’ve spoken to a couple of them, but I like speaking to players face-to-face. I think speaking over the phone you don’t always get a feeling for a player.

“By seeing them face-to-face you get a true reflection on their personality and the type of person they are.

“So once they come back next Monday for day one of pre-season then over the coming days, weeks and months we’ll get to know each other better, how they work and what makes them tick and what their personalities are like.”