Matthew Bates eyes new recruits as midfielder pens new Pools deal

Hartlepool United manager Matthew Bates. Picture by FRANK REID.
Hartlepool United manager Matthew Bates. Picture by FRANK REID.

Matthew Bates admits he’s still some way off his ‘perfect’ Hartlepool United squad, as he eyes yet more new recruits.

Yesterday the club confirmed the signing of former Gateshead midfielder Paddy McLaughlin to add to the signings of Andrew Davies, Niko Muir and Myles Anderson.

And Bates is keen to keep the revolving door moving, as he chases at least another three additions in the coming weeks.

“We have four signings in, there’s still the want to sign more,” said Bates at his first press conference at the club’s new East Durham College training base.

“A couple could still go which frees up spaces.

“If I say I want six in and no-one leaves then it’s impossible. But it someone leaves then it could happen – I’m not saying I do want six, it’s a number I’ve pulled out of the air.

“It changes all the time, this week, next week, in a few weeks. We have to judge it as it goes along.”

Incomings have always been dependent on departures at Pools this summer.

Last season the club ran with an inflated squad on a Football League budget. That is not the case this time around, and rightly so.

As a result the highest earners in the squad - the likes of Ryan Donaldson, Jake Cassidy and Jack Munns - were placed on the transfer list.

Bates says there have been enquiries for the players, but exit are not, at this stage, close.

“There’s been a few enquiries about players, no offers, nothing we feel acceptable to take things further. But it’s still early and things can happen in the next few weeks,” he said.

“I don’t like saying it’s about transfer-listing players, it’s the need to move on some of the higher earners.

“I said to them all it’s a fresh start, a new pre-season and we go again on August 4.

“A lot of players are good players and I have to manage them – I don’t want to say I don’t want them. No point in saying I don’t want them and they are still here, I’ve always been a players’ manager and I give them an opportunity.

“It’s about money and budgets, but I will give them a chance. If they do well pre-season, in training and games, then they will be in the team.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Nicky Featherstone has penned a new one-year contract at Pools.

The 29-year-old’s deal at Victoria Park came to an end this month but Featherstone was offered reduced terms to stay on for another year.

After some deliberation the midfielder has given the deal the green light.

Bates said: “Nicky has renewed for another year.

“For us it’s good news. He’s taken a drop in wages which shows his commitment to the club and to me as a manager.”

On the signing of McLaughlin, Bates continued: “Players have wanted to come here, they all have had options and this club still has a pull in this division.

“The first time he (McLaughlin) played at the Vic was on New Year’s Day and he said it felt like a big game, a big club. We have that about us, but it doesn’t count for anything, it’s the present and the future which counts.”