Five players who could step up for Hartlepool in 2017

Jake Orrell
Jake Orrell

It already looks like being a tight month in the winter transfer market for Hartlepool United.

Incomings will almost certainly be funded by outgoings, and even those who do step through the door are likely to be loan signings, anyway.

Seen as the next in line to step up to the Pools first-team, Blackford made his club debut in April last year.

While many will have a negative take on this, it is part and parcel of life in the lower reaches of the English Football League. As Craig Hignett said recently, few clubs at this level have got cash to burn, bar a select few.

But this news might not all be bad for certain members of the Pools squad.

A lack of new faces could see one or two of the club’s younger lights given their chance to shine on the first-team stage.

But of the current crop bubbling under the senior squad at Pools, who could make an impact in 2017?

Here we take a look at five who could make the step up over the next 12 months.

Jack Blackford

Seen as the next in line to step up to the Pools first-team, Blackford made his club debut in April last year.

The youngster came on for Michael Duckworth in the 84th minute of Pools 2-1 home win over York City as the 2015/16 season came to a close.

While he is yet to get a chance this campaign, it seems like only a matter of time before he is called upon.

A Hartlepool lad, Blackford has been at the club since the Under-10s.

His pace and direct running could be an asset for Pools, who have looked devoid in that department since the injury to Nathan Thomas.

James Martin

Having broken on the scene at the back end of last year Martin is certain to be a mainstay in the Pools XI soon enough.

Expect combative 18-year-old Martin to fight tooth and nail with Irishman Carroll for the left-back slot.

Martin, only signed in the summer, looks like he’s been a more than tidy addition to the ranks.

Jake Orrell

A player in a position that is crying out to be filled, Orrell has been in and around the fringes of the first team this season.

He has even seen action in the Checkatrade Trophy and FA Cup. Expect League Two duty to follow between now and the end of the campaign.

Impressive for Sam Collins’ reserve side, former Gateshead and Chesterfield man Orrell has the perfect opportunity to stake his claim, especially with Pools lacking wide options.

Ben Pollock

The central defender was signed up after his release by Newcastle United in the summer.

Was added to the matchday squad at Portsmouth, following a long-term injury to Rob Jones and Martin’s knee problem keeping him out of action.

Given Pools defensive woes this season Pollock could see himself thrust into action between now and May.

Kieran Green

Another who is not a million lies away from the first-team picture.

A composed midfielder, who loves to get on the ball, has been close to getting the nod for a while now having been skipper of the club’s youth team and having impressed in loan spells at Spennymoor Town and Frickley Athletic.

Made his debut back in 2014/15. The next few months could be crucial for Green and his development.

And three names of outsiders, who might find that 2018 is their year ...

Kenton Richardson - An attacking right-back, involved in a number of first-team squads this season.

Aaron Cunningham - Can play anywhere across the back four, or in a holding midfield role.

Ryan Catterick - An organiser from the back. A key member of the Pools youth team.