Defender shown Hartlepool United exit door as Matthew Bates turns attentions to striker targets

Hartlepool United have confirmed the departure of out-of-favour defender Louis Laing.

As revealed in the Mail last week, the centre-half has seen his contract, which ran out at the end of the current season, cancelled by mutual consent.

Louis Laing.

Louis Laing.

And Laing's departure should free up room in the budget for Matthew Bates to complete the loan signing of a striker, with the Pools boss in talks to finance a deal with club owner Raj Singh and director of football Craig Hignett.

Last week Bates confirmed Laing was no longer part of his first-team plans, having made just one appearance off the bench this campaign.

Speaking to the Mail, he said: "He is a good lad. I like him as a person. There is no issue there. But I just feel that he’s lost his way as a player here.

"I have no doubt he will have a career elsewhere and do well. We will see what the next week holds for Louis."

A club statement, confirming the news said: "Louis Laing has now left Pools after an agreement was reached to cancel his contract by mutual consent.

"The 25-year-old arrived the Club last summer, going on to make 43 appearances and score one crucial goal – his header in April’s 1-0 win over Leyton Orient secured Pools’ National League status.

"However, the centre-back has played just once this season and it has now been agreed that he will be released from his contract with immediate effect.

"The club would like to thank him for his efforts and wish him every success in the future."

Laing is understood to be interesting National League North side Blyth Spartans, who he knocked back in the summer having hoped to recover his Pools career.

Finance remains the stumbling block with regards to a Croft Park move.