John Hughes knows what needs to be done at Hartlepool Utd this summer

John Hughes during the game against Walsall. Picture by FRANK REID
John Hughes during the game against Walsall. Picture by FRANK REID

JOHN Hughes will make a goalscorer his number-one transfer target this summer after watching Hartlepool United extend their barren spell in front of the posts to nine hours.

Pools are now without a goal in six matches following Saturday’s stalemate with Walsall at Victoria Park, a result which leaves them six points from safety.

Hughes admits the scoreless stretch has brought home the club’s desperate need for a striker.

Indeed, previous managers Mick Wadsworth and Neale Cooper had also identified the same want, yet both paid the price for failing to find a centre-forward capable of hitting the net on a regular basis.

And, when asked by SportMail if a hitman would top his close-season wish-list, Hughes came back: “Looking at the big picture I know where I am going, I know what needs doing at the club and I see the situation.

“I’m not going to shout it out, but I will work very closely with the chairman and chief executive and hopefully we can go and get one or two in to help the boys out.

“Hopefully it’s still in this division.”

But Hughes concedes that unearthing a double-figure frontman is not a straightforward task.

“Where are the strikers? The goalscorers?,” he put.

“The boy Paddy Madden at Yeovil has 19 goals - how much would they want for him?

“You need to go and dig something out.

“That’s not a negative, it inspires me.”

Hughes also has one eye on other areas of his team, admitting that the signing of a striker is not his only need.

“There will be other players to come in and do a job,” he said.

“You will never get a Xabi Alonso scoring loads of goals for the team, but the job he does for his club is fantastic in the bigger picture.

“I need to bring players in who can fit into a system of play and then we can score goals as a team.

“As manager of Hartlepool, I want to drive this club forward and implement a style of football that people can be proud of.

“We are miles away now and it’s going to take a few years.

“But we have put pride back in the club and we are getting there.’’