Hartlepool United will NOT be offering deals to their pair of pre-season triallists.
But manager Matthew Bates is open to the idea of more triallists teaming-up with his side, provided that they are the ‘right type’.
Harry Middleton and Connor Higgins were given the chance to impress against Billingham Town in Pools’ first pre-season friendly.
Higgins, formerly of Partick Thistle, played the full first half as he partnered Jake Cassidy up front.
Meanwhile ex-Port Vale man Middleton played over an hour and even found the net with a sweetly struck effort from the edge of the area.
But manager Bates has confirmed to the Mail that neither of the pair will be offered a deal by Pools – although he heavily praised the duo’s character.
While Middleton and Higgins may have failed to win a deal, Pools are far from turning their back on future triallists.
Any players who did team-up with the club, however, have to be the right fit.
Bates also confirmed that, as it stands, no triallists would be taking to the field against Sunderland on Saturday.
“We have not got any triallists in this week,” said Bates.
“The two lads we had in were good players but did not think they could offer us anything we didn’t already have in the squad.
“It can be good getting players in to have a look at them outside of games – you get to see what they are like with the others lads at training.
“But they have to be the right type. It is no good getting recommended players who are not good enough and then bring down the level of training.
“Luckily we have good contacts and haven’t experienced that.”
When asked whether there are likely to be any triallists for the weekend’s clash with Sunderland, the manager said: “This week will just be the squad. There will be no new faces in before Sunderland.”
This week the Mail revealed that Pools’ budget for new players has been stretched almost to the limit and that Bates would have to be clever in the market, if he is to further strengthen.
The manager says little has changed on that front from day one this summer.
“We have known since day one that we would have to try and move some players out to get players in,” he said.
“It is not a case that we 100% have to sell to buy. But if we do manage to maybe move a body or two out of the club, we know it makes our lives much easier in terms of bringing new players in.
“We are still looking to add to the squad, if we can get the right type of players through the door.”
Aaron Cunningham and Jack Munns missed last weekend’s Billingham encounter, and Bates has revealed one of them will be involved tomorrow.
Munns has returned to training this week and will play some part, but Cunningham is likely to be out for another week or so with a twisted ankle.
Jake Cassidy could also miss out this weekend having picked up a knock.
“He will not be risked with it only being pre-season, but he has a chance,” said Bates.