Hartlepool United Q&A: Dominic Scurr answers your questions on transfer business, Richie Bennett's Stockport County recall, player contracts and player of the season

Hartlepool United may be without a match this weekend but it has still been an eventful week at Victoria Park and our Pools writer Dominic Scurr has been answering your questions.

Saturday, 24th April 2021, 9:39 am

Why aren’t Pools playing and will it be a disadvantage?

Pools were set to play Weymouth this weekend before it was confirmed on Tuesday that the match would be rearranged to the last day of the season on May 29 to allow all teams to kick-off at the same time and fans to return to Victoria Park.

Dave Challinor’s side sat top of the table on Saturday morning knowing that with Sutton United and Torquay United in action, they would likely drop a position or two.

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Rhys Oates of Hartlepool United celebrates with team mates after putting his side 1-0 up during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Woking at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 20th March 2021. (Credit: Chris Booth | MI News)
Rhys Oates of Hartlepool United celebrates with team mates after putting his side 1-0 up during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Woking at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 20th March 2021. (Credit: Chris Booth | MI News)

Having played at least two games more than any other side in the play-off places, this free weekend gives other teams the chance to catch up on Pools and will therefore provide a clearer picture as to how the promotion run-in is shaping up.

Being without a game without a game for two weeks could impact Pools’ momentum as they look to extend their 15 game unbeaten run, but it will give the team the chance to get everyone back fit going into the final six games.

What did you make of Pools’ deadline day business?

Hartlepool United's David Ferguson celebrates after scoring their second goal during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Solihull Moors at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Tuesday 9th February 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Challinor was targeting a goalkeeper, left-back and striker to help bolster his squad going into the final six games and he’s done exactly that.

The side now have strength and cover in every position to give them the best chance of being promoted back to the Football League this season.

I was impressed by Brad James in goal at Gateshead last season. He’ll compete well with Henrich Ravas for that starting spot and will provide excellent cover if needed.

Zaine Francis-Angol was one of the top left-backs in the National League a couple of years ago. He's had some injury issues but finally provides some competition for the ever-impressive David Ferguson down the left side.

Harvey Saunders’ is another useful attacking option though his arrival means Pools now have six strikers to choose from as it stands.

All in all, a very good day and hats off to the club for getting all the boxes ticked.

When will Richie Bennett be recalled by Stockport County?

Stockport will be able to recall Bennett at any time from April 29 – this coming Thursday.

The arrivals of Saunders and Danny Elliott suggest that Bennett is all but certain to return to his parent club before the season is finished, the big question is when he’ll go back?

But after scoring five goals in two starts for Pools, promotion rivals Stockport will surely be keen to have him back as soon as possible.

Do Hartlepool think it was fair to charge non season ticket holders less to purchase home match live streams than it worked out for season ticket holders?

It’s clear the club don’t think it was ‘fair’ which is why they’ve been offering so many discounts and incentive packages.

I’d give Hartlepool the benefit of the doubt as last summer they put season tickets up for sale based on government plans to get fans back in stadiums in time for the start of the season.

Things certainly didn’t pan out that way which has clearly left many feeling short changed.

An adult season ticket this season cost £325 for 21 home games – working out at £15.47 per game. Games no one would attend.

Pools’ live stream costs £10 so purchasing every home live stream this season would come to just £210 instead.

It simply wouldn’t have been viable to charge over £15.47 per live stream so all Pools could do was offer refunds and try to make amends through various incentives and discounts.

That includes £50 off a season ticket for next season. Whether that’s enough for some people is down to them.

Have contract discussions started?

Hartlepool have started what can be best described as 'tentative discussions’ with a handful of players regarding next season.

The majority of Pools’ squad are out of contract in the summer though they do have extension options on a few.

Youngsters Joe Grey and Brad Young are already tied down for the 2021-22 campaign although the latter has attracted interest from Premier League side Leicester City.

Fan favourites Gavan Holohan and David Ferguson both signed two-year deals in 2020 and remain contracted for next season with more set to follow once the campaign has concluded.

Who is your Pools player of the season?

This is a very difficult question for all the right seasons. You could honestly pick a starting player’s name out of a hat and put a strong case forward for them as player of the season.

When I think of a player of the season, I think about which player has helped Pools the most in getting results.

If you asked me a month ago, I would have said Luke Armstrong as his goals have been instrumental in helping the side climb into the promotion places.

But given the events of the past few weeks, I’m going to have to say Rhys Oates though that decision may well change again over the final six games.

He had a stuttering start to the season and was in and out of the side but hasn’t looked back since getting a decent run of games.

His goal of the season strike against Stockport just before Christmas has proven to be the jolt Pools’ campaign needed as they’ve gone from mid-table in the fifth tier to the summit of the division.

A run of two defeats in 23 games has seen Oates net 10 times, more than any other Pools player. His clean sheet while in goal at Boreham Wood is the deciding factor in what has been an amazing season for Oates back at Pools so far.

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