Hartlepool United set to trigger Josh Hawkes contract clause amid interest from Sunderland, Middlesbrough & Newcastle
Josh Hawkes looks set to stay at Hartlepool United - with the club retaining a one-year extension option on his current deal.
The Mail has learned that Hawkes is likely to remain at Pools, despite keen interest from a number of Football League clubs.
Twelve months ago, then Championship outfit Sunderland were keen to take Hawkes on trial, but Pools blocked any such switch.
The Black Cats have again been linked with the player this season, along with North East rivals Middlesbrough and Newcastle United.
But, at this stage, Pools are likely to trigger the one-year option and retain Hawkes for at least another year, although they would hope to extend his stay beyond next summer.
Hawkes is highly rated by Craig Hignett, with the No 10 starting every game during the manager’s second permanent spell in charge.
The player is also valued by those at the top at the Super 6 Stadium and the 20-year-old is already seen as a key member of the first-team squad.
But there is an acceptance at the club, as there is with any of Pools’ young talent, that if a bigger club comes knocking Hignett and owner Raj Singh will not stand in the way of any player moving on to better himself.
For the time being, at least, Hawkes is highly likely to remain on the books at the Super 6 Stadium.
This season Hawkes has played 25 games, scoring eight goals - that sees him ranked as the second highest scorer in the Pools squad, behind only 13-goal Liam Noble, who is out of contract at the end of the season.