Hartlepool United transfer Q&A: Where do Paul Hartley's side need to strengthen including links with Leeds United and Crystal Palace midfielders
It’s been a summer of change at the Suit Direct Stadium for Hartlepool United.
Having secured their EFL status last season, Pools have welcomed a new manager in Paul Hartley and, at the time of writing, 13 new arrivals to the squad.
But what else do Pools need to do in the transfer market?
Here, we look at some of the key questions as we enter the final month of the transfer window.
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How has Pools’ business been so far?
In a word; busy.
With 13 new arrivals and even more exits, it’s been a summer of transition for the club and we maybe saw the impact of that in Saturday’s heavy defeat at Walsall.
What you would say, based on that defeat to Walsall, is Hartley has been right not to overestimate the encouraging signs in pre-season.
With that said, it would be naive to write any of these players off based on just one game of the new campaign.
Given the number of players who have left the club it has needed to be a busy window for Pools and, what is key, they are players Hartley trusts.
August is a busy month, with Pools set to face seven fixtures in all competitions before the transfer window closes which will also give us a greater idea of where things stand and how successful the business has been this summer.
How many more signings do Pools need?
It’s a good question, and it’s one Hartley himself does not necessarily know the answer to with the Pools boss suggesting things may depend on how the market develops over the coming weeks.
Based on Saturday, you could easily say a lot. But again, it would be naive to write any player off on the back of one bad performance. They’ll improve as time goes on and they continue to gel with one another.
Hartley has disclosed on a number of occasions he wants to bring further reinforcements in the final third and a ‘nil’ on the scoreline at Walsall will only strengthen that desire.
Pools, creatively, were lacking in the final third against the Saddlers with Josh Umerah’s two strikes off target, and Jake Hastie’s acute effort late on, the best they could muster.
But goals are the hardest currency to find in football and it remains a difficult market.
With that said, I would not be surprised to see another couple of additions in the final third, whether that is a No.10 type player to link midfield and attack or another goalscorer.
Likewise, I could see another centre-back being sought after with Hartley showing in pre-season games, and late in the second half at Walsall, a switch to three central defenders.
Although loan signing Rollin Menayese will now be eligible, and Mouhamed Niang has deputised in defence in pre-season, Hartley may still feel he is light in that area should he wish to utilise that particular system in games.
Who are Pools interested in?
It feels as though there has been a little bit of a lull after the loan signing of Sunderland winger Ellis Taylor, at least when it comes to names being linked. But that is certainly not the case behind the scenes as Hartley and his staff continue to work on new recruits.
The signing of Taylor also demonstrates just how quickly the market can move. While, naturally, it helped that Pools got to see Taylor in person as they hosted Sunderland, Hartley was impressed enough to orchestrate a deal on the back of that friendly in a deal which suits all parties.
Pools have been credited with an interest in a huge number of names this summer, but the way they have gone about their business with those who have arrived shows they are keen to keep things in house as much as possible.
Crystal Palace midfielder Scott Banks is one name which has surfaced quite a lot recently, albeit Hartley was keen to play down any links.
Banks was part of the Eagles’ pre-season tour squad in Singapore and Australia before moving back into the Under-21s side upon their return.
Banks, who was first linked by journalist Alan Nixon, scored twice in a 3-0 win over Southend United at the weekend but we may get a better idea as to whether he is on the peripheral of Patrick Vieira’s first team squad this weekend as the Eagles return to Premier League action.
Another player where things have gone quiet is with Leeds United’s Stuart McKinstry.
Speaking after the pre-season win over Billingham Synthonia, Hartley admitted to McKinstry being 'a good player,' with Pools believed to have been monitoring the situation.
But reported contractual issues between the player and the Elland Road club may be why a deal has failed to materialise.
Are we likely to see more loans?
It does feel like once the season begins we are edging more into the loan deal stage of the window.
That’s not to say Pools can’t, or won’t, bring in any players for a fee. But with many of those out of contract players now snapped up, it is difficult to entice players out of their current contracts.
The next few weeks of the window may be a case of waiting for clubs to assess their squads before allowing players to leave on loan.
What about outgoings?
Reagan Ogle's departure was a little out of the blue given his appearances in pre-season, but also not surprising with Hartley strengthening his full-back options early in the window.
Ogle’s desire to play more regularly was warranted, with the defender even scoring on his debut for Scunthorpe United at the weekend.
As it stands, Pools are much more in the signing players camp than letting them go.
But, as with most clubs, the next few weeks will allow Hartley to establish who is likely to feature more often than not, which may see one or two move on before the close of the window.