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Hartlepool close in on second summer signing - prolific non-league striker set to join

Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates.
Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates.

Matthew Bates is closing in on his second signing of the summer with prolific non-league frontman Niko Muir set to sign.

Pools appear to have won the race to land the in-demand striker, who netted 32 goals for Hendon in the Isthmian League last season.

Muir was reportedly being tracked by a number of clubs in the National League and higher, so, despite the player's lack of experience in full-time football, this represents an early success in the summer window for Bates and his director of football Craig Hignett.

Muir spent part of last season on trail at Championship outfit QPR, then managed by Ian Holloway, but they did not take up the option of signing the player.

The 25-year-old is expected to become Pools' second signing of the summer, following on from the free transfer capture of central defender Myles Anderson from Chester.

As well as developments on the park, things are also moving off it.

As reported in the Mail last week, the club have shifted their training base from Durham University's Racecourse ground, closer to home.

The players will now train out of East Durham College in Peterlee.

Confirming the news, a club statement read: "Hartlepool United are delighted to announce an agreement with East Durham College for the 2018/19 season which will see Pools relocate their training base to the college in Peterlee.

"The move will mean that all age groups from Under eight up to the first team will be training at one base for the first time."

It continued: "Matthew Bates’ first team players will report for to their new base for pre-season training in the next few days where they will undergo fitness testing before the real work starts next week.

"The club would like to place on record its thanks to Durham University who have provided our training base for the past twelve years."

Pools' players are back for pre-season testing this Saturday, while their training programme will start on Monday.

Craig Hignett is delighted to finally announce the training ground switch.

"One of our priorities when we started to look at how the club operates was to bring the first team closer to home, and in addition to bring the whole club closer together.

"The facilities at East Durham College are top class and for our younger age groups to rub shoulders with the first team can only help to inspire the youngsters.

“Matty was keen for a fresh start for the first team and is delighted with the quality of facilities at the college so it’s a relationship we hope will last for a long time to come."

It is understood as well as having a positive impact on the players, Pools are saving a considerable sum by switching training venues.