Hartlepool United set to renew interest in England C International in summer

Hartlepool United are set to renew their bid to sign defender Jon Mellish this summer - but Gateshead’s financial situation could be a deciding factor.

Tuesday, 16th April 2019, 7:00 am
Mark Foden of Gateshead saves at the feet of Luke James and Jon Mellish during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Gateshead at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Tuesday 1st January 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | Shutter Press) ©Shutter Press Tel: +44 7752 571576 e-mail: markf@mediaimage.co.uk Address: 1 Victoria Grove, Stockton on Tees, TS19 7EL

The Mail can reveal manager Craig Hignett was desperate to take Mellish to Pools before the closure of the National League registration window.

Having failed to strike a deal, similar to the one which saw Pools exchange £4,000 for former Heed teammate Fraser Kerr earlier this year, Hignett is keen to rekindle his interest this summer.

Mellish is an England C international with roots in South Shields.

The 21-year-old can play as a centre-half, as well as being equally as able at full-back.

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Mellish has made 42 appearances for fifth tier promotion play-off chasing Heed, managed by former Pools defender Ben Clark. He scored one goal in the time - in the FA Cup - as well as picking up four yellow cards along the way.

The financial situation at the International Stadium could have a big say in whether Gateshead’s better players decide to stay put or jump ship.

Despite only having 14 fit outfield players this season, and a number of off-field issues with owner Ranjan Varghese and advisor Joseph Cala, Heed have somehow maintained a push towards the fifth tier top seven, although their hopes could well be dashed once and for all on Friday.

Team spirit and a tight knit, loyal group of players is the main reason for their sustained challenge - something Hignett alluded to in the days before the registration window close, when he discussed players staying loyal to their current clubs.

Should Heed be taken over it may well see their top players stay put, but should the financial uncertainty carry through the summer it could be a whole different ball game.

Pools are also understood to retain an interest in Robbie Tinkler while Scott Barrow was heavily linked last summer.