Hartlepool United fight off competition as Craig Hignett lands a 'top summer target' in former loanee Michael Raynes
Hartlepool United have clinched the signing of defender Michael Raynes on a permanent basis as Craig Hignett continues his summer reshape.
The centre back spent time on loan with Pools last season and, after being signed from Crewe Alexandra by then-manager Richard Money, impressed with his no-nonsense style at the back.
But injury put a quick end to his time at the Super 6 Stadium, with the experienced centre back forced to return to his parent club amid an uncertain future.
Raynes, though, is now set to return to the North East having penned a permanent deal with Pools - as he becomes the second player to join the club after fellow loanee Nicke Kabamba.
Indeed, the club state that they fought off a host of other options to land Raynes after Hignett earmarked the former Carlisle United and Mansfield Town centre back as one of his top summer targets.
The 31-year-old made just three appearances for Pools during his loan spells, but looked to have the makings of a strong partnership with Myles Anderson.
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And Hignett will be hoping that Raynes, who has over 400 career appearances, will be able to pick up where he left off once pre-season begins.
Speaking after his injury, the Pools boss said: “He did great for us, just what we needed – an experienced voice and a real leader.
“It’s an Achilles tear lengthways and if he kept playing it may have snapped and that could have been him done.
"He is a great lad, a great character and someone who the lads like Aaron Cunningham and Peter Kioso can really learn off."