Hartlepool United look to bring in competition for keeper Scott Flinders

Scott Flinders in action against Stevenage. Photograph by FRANK REID
Scott Flinders in action against Stevenage. Photograph by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United will look to bring in a permanent new keeper after Andy Rafferty left the club for personal reasons.

Pools confirmed last week that the 26-year-old stopper has had his contract cancelled by “mutual consent” and chairman Ken Hodcroft revealed in Saturday’s programme the keeper has decided to “focus on his family and non-football employment”.

Rafferty had featured in pre-season matches but on the eve of the new campaign the club stated he had picked up an injury in training and subsequently missed the first two matches.

Then, on Thursday, club officials confirmed his contract had been cancelled by mutual consent.

In the programme, Mr Hodcroft, said: “On a personal note, you will be aware of Andy Rafferty’s resignation as a player from HUFC in the last few days.

“Andy has decided to focus on his family and non-football employment and it is with this in mind that the club accepted his resignation but myself and the club wish him all the very best for the future.”

Pools again had Sunderland youth goalkeeper Joel Dixon on the bench after he signed an emergency loan deal as cover on the eve of the new season.

But goalkeeping coach and assistant manager Stephen Pears is on the lookout for permanent cover.

After the game, SportMail asked Colin Cooper what the situation was with Rafferty and replacing the keeper.

Cooper said: “I don’t want to put Andy in a position where he would feel uncomfortable, but it’s between Andy and his family. He needs to get on with his life with my best wishes.

“Sunderland have sent us Joel Dixon down quickly and we are looking at the situation.

“We need a goalkeeper in who can compete and push Scott [Flinders].

“We are looking at it and it’s a big thanks to Sunderland for allowing us to have Joel at a moment’s notice.

“If you are honest, you need two keepers to push each other and Stephen Pears has a lot going on to look at.”

A regular for the reserves, Rafferty found opportunities to play regular first team football limited and made seven appearances during his four years at the club