Hartlepool United set sights on Middlesbrough loans

Matthew Bates and Craig Hignett.
Matthew Bates and Craig Hignett.

Hartlepool United are keen to exploit the ‘Middlesbrough connection’ this summer as they look to strengthen their ranks.

Manager Matthew Bates is a former Boro player, as is one of his assistants Ross Turnbull - both of whom have long-held contacts and friends at the Riverside Stadium.

Further to that director of football Craig Hignett is an ex-Middlesbrough player and coach and owner Raj Singh a prominent fan of the Championship outfit.

Bates hopes that Pools can use those connections to secure a number of loan signings at Victoria Park.

When asked whether he would be raiding his former club, Bates said: “We hope so.

“It is not just that we want to build bridges with all the local teams. Craig is doing that now.

“We want to make this an environment for young players to grow.

“I have proven I will play young players - the message to the clubs is that we will give them a chance to play.

“We need to build relationships and that is happening now.”

Under Hignett Pools used the loan market extensively to get the likes of Bradley Fewster from Boro and Tom Heardman from Newcastle United.

Craig Harrison also called in a few favours to land Michael Ledger last season, although injury restricted his appearances at the Vic.

A number of players are set to leave Boro on loan this summer, with January target Nathan McGinley again likely to be sent out.

Others such as Alex Pattison, who was at York last season, and Lewis Wing, who played for Yeovil on loan at the end of the campaign, could also be up for grabs.

Meanwhile, Pools’ season ticket sales hit 250 this week.

The club took the decision to freeze prices once again for 2018/19 to ensure as many fans as possible can get behind the team next term.

Visit www.hartlepoolunited.co.uk/tickets for full information on Season Tickets for 2018/19.

Elsewhere, Pools club shop is set to close for a few weeks - but is set to move back on to Clarence Road and come back under club control.

New chief executive Mark Maguire said: “I look forward to announcing further details in due course.”