'It won't be long before Hartlepool are back in the EFL' - Scott Loach issues parting message as keeper is released by Pools
Hartlepool United have confirmed that goalkeeper Scott Loach will leave the club at the end of his current contract.
As revealed by the Mail, Loach and his representative were unable to come to a financial agreement with Pools, who will not begin the search for his replacement.
And while Loach, who has started Pools' last 100 games, leaves with a heavy heart, he also admits he's leaving with many happy memories.
Speaking to the official website, the 31-year-old said: "“I have really enjoyed it.
“First of all, I have to thank Craig Harrison and Paul Jenkins for bringing me to the club.
“I was at a place in my career when people maybe knew what I had done and what I could do but I just needed to get back out there and show it, so it was massive for them to have that confidence in me.
“To have to try and follow in the footsteps of Trev (Carson) was always going to be a challenge but the fans took to me from minute one and I really enjoyed my time there and my football.
“In terms of playing 100 games in a row, I think the mental side of things is as important as the hard work and I have also had Ryan Catterick pushing me all the way, the club has a real talent coming through there."
Loach has been named players' player of the year two seasons in a row at Pools and while he had his ups and downs in his first year, he's gone from strength to strength this campaign.
And Loach puts a lot of that down to the coaching of former Middlesbrough and Chelsea keeper Ross Turnbull.
“Ross has also taken me to different levels in terms of how I approach games now and he’s really looked after me," he said.
“He’s made sure that the work we do is physical but also mental too and there’s been days where I’ve been off my feet and in the gym so he’s looked after me perfectly.
“I would say I have been managed well during my time at the club too because, even when I have had the odd hiccup here and there, they’ve backed me and given me so much confidence over the last two years.
“I just want to thank everyone who has been involved since I’ve been at the club – staff, players and fans, who have been brilliant with me."
Getting the captain's armband was a particular highlight of his time at Pools for Loach, who joined on a free transfer in the summer of 2017.
“I think it was when we played Fylde last year – Mags (Carl Magnay) was ill so I was captain and I walked around the pitch at the end to see the fans and the response I got really surprised me, I didn’t expect them to applaud," said Loach.
"Since then I felt like we had a good, respectful relationship.
“You can ask the people at Watford or even at York City for the nine games I was there, I celebrate goals like I have been there for years because I am passionate about my football and want to enjoy every minute.
"I won’t miss Nicky Featherstone’s driving. I would say I enjoyed the penalty save against Torquay at home last year, it was great to save one in front of the fans.
“I would also pick out the Dagenham game at home in 2017/18 too. We’d had a tricky start to the season but that day I had quite a lot to do, I think I got man of the match and we won the game – I just felt like that was the day that I really settled in at the club.
“It was also a very proud moment to be asked to captain the team, that’s not a role I’ve done in the past but I think it helped me grow as a person and made me more mature – though some of the lads would probably argue against that."
He might be leaving but Loach knows Pools will not be in the National League forever - despite fans' fears.
“I don’t think it will be long before the club is back in the EFL," he said.
"Some might have their doubts from the outside but the people there are getting it right now.
“The infrastructure maybe wasn’t there in the first twelve months but there is a real platform now and I think the club can bounce back – other teams might throw money at it but Pools have the structure to succeed.
“Hopefully we can look at what Tranmere and Lincoln have done – learn from their years in this division and get back to where the club belongs.”