10 free agents that could interest Hartlepool United this summer

Keith Watson
Keith Watson

Hartlepool United are keen to strengthen this summer - and there's plenty of deals that they could do on the cheap.

Matthew Bates has already made his first foray into the market having secured the signature of defender Myles Anderson, but the new Pools boss will be keen to add some further reinforcements to his side.

Matthew Bates is looking for reinforcements

Matthew Bates is looking for reinforcements

And with most clubs having now confirmed their retained and released lists, there's a host of free agents desperate to find a new club.

READ: New Chief Executive wants to give Pools a platform to get back into the Football League

But which of them could add some real value to the Victoria Park side?

We've picked out ten players who could improve Pools without breaking the bank:

ANDREW DAVIES

Position: Defender

Previous club: Ross County

A former teammate of Bates' at Middlesbrough during a 2011 loan spell, Davies recently left Scottish top flight club Ross County and could well interest Pools having been linked with the club in the past.

At 34 he has bags of experience both north and south of the border, but most of that has come in far higher divisions than the National League.

If he could adapt his playing style to non-league football then the centre back could prove something of a coup for United.

BILLY KNOTT

Position: Midfielder

Previous club: Lincoln City

Comfortable in the centre of the park or out wide, the versatile midfielder helped Lincoln win the National League in 2017 so knows what the division is all about.

Knott, 25, has previously played in the North East at Sunderland and has plenty of know-how in the lower leagues too.

With a wicked left foot and bags of energy, he could be an impressive addition to Pools' engine room.

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TOM MILLER

Position: Defender

Previous club: Carlisle United

Something of a shock departure from Brunton Park, Miller excelled in the National League during a previous spell at Lincoln and may be keen on a return to the level to rediscover his best form.

He's solid at the back and a threat going forward - especially from set pieces - while his long throw-ins are also a real asset.

His wages may prove a stumbling block, with big-spending Salford City having been linked with the right-back earlier this summer.

NEAL BISHOP

Position: Midfielder

Previous club: Scunthorpe United

Another with bags of experience, Bishop has long been a standout player in the Football League but will be available for nothing this summer.

He would undoubtedly be a good addition for Pools and, having been born in Stockton, could be interested in a return closer to home.

But with his quality still abundantly clear, despite now being 36, Bishop might attract interest from higher up the pyramid.

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SHOLA AMEOBI

Position: Striker

Previous club: Notts County

A popular name in the North East after his time at Newcastle, Ameobi was released by the League Two side and could fancy a move back to the North East.

And with Pools in the market for a striker, could it prove a perfect fit?

The striker may well be looking for higher wages than offered at Victoria Park, but a return to an area where he enjoyed some of his best moments could prove appealing.

KEITH WATSON

Position: Defender

Previous club: St Johnstone

A popular name at the Vic following his successful loan spell in the first half of the season, Pools were keen to extend Watson's deal at the time but couldn't due to a transfer embargo.

But with Watson now a free agent, a potential reunion could become a reality with the reliable defender having proved his calibre during the temporary move.

However, his injury problems are likely to be a concern with recurring knee problems hindering his progress.

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ROBBIE TINKLER

Position: Midfielder

Previous club: Middlesbrough

A versatile midfielder, who can also play at the back, Tinkler was let go by Boro this summer and could interest Pools.

He spent last season on loan at Gateshead and put in two eye-catching performances when the two sides met which could well have impressed Bates.

With Tinkler already based locally and unlikely to demand big money, this could prove a feasible move.

AJ LEITCH-SMITH

Position: Striker

Previous club: Shrewsbury

Craig Hignett is known to have plenty of contacts in Scotland, so the name of Leitch-Smith may have been passed on to him after his loan spell at Dundee last season.

The pacy striker netted seven times in the Scottish top flight last season and has plenty of experience in the lower leagues.

His willingness to relocate could prove a stumbling block in any potential move, but he could add a different dimension to Bates' attacking options.

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DEAN WINNARD

Position: Defender

Previous club: Morecambe

Bates will know a good centre back when he sees one, and at National League level Winnard could certainly be one of the best.

At 28, he is in his prime and with over 300 career appearances - all of which have come in League Two - he knows the lower leagues well.

Pools need some defensive reinforcements, but Winnard could well have a host of potential suitors chasing his signature this summer.

SCOTT VERNON

Position: Striker

Previous club: Grimsby Town

The 34-year-old is currently without a club but, with almost 120 career goals to his name, could attract plenty of interest.

Well-versed in the lower leagues of English football, as well as spending time with Aberdeen in Scotland, Vernon might be a solution to Pools' striker conundrum.

He could add some much needed experience to what is a relatively young Hartlepool front line and is almost certain to chip in with goals.