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Matthew Bates prepares to streamline Hartlepool squad as retained list set for release

Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates.
Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates.

The fate of Hartlepool United’s squad is set to be sealed in the next five days with the club preparing to release their retained list.

Pools expect to name their squad list for next season by Thursday – with manager Matthew Bates, officially unveiled to the press yesterday at Victoria Park, having already made his mind up on who he wants to stay and who he’d be happy to see depart.

As yet, though, he has not spoken to his players individually and was not in any mood to divulge who would be getting the chop, and who is set to stay on.

“There’s been decisions made and we have done that between us, with the players spoken to Monday or Tuesday and the retained list announced towards the end of next week,” he said.

“The contract was signed last Friday, I’ve had three days away on holiday and we need to speak to the players.

“There may be players I want to keep who want to leave and vice versa, but it’s important to speak to them first.”

While many fans have been calling for an immediate overhaul of the Pools ranks, Bates and director of football Craig Hignett’s hands are tied somewhat with a number of players.

While some – Liam Donnelly, Michael Woods and Devante Rodney – are out of contract and look set to leave, a whole host of others have one year to run on their current deals at the Vic.

While many of those may remain on the retained list for now, they may well be shown the door later in the summer, should any suitable move transpire.

But, as the club found out in January, it can sometimes be easier said than done to shift deadwood.

Even when a player is happy to go and the club wants rid, there is not always a club willing to take them on.

As well as this a number of the Pools squad, including skipper Carl Magnay, midfielder Nicky Featherstone and striker Jake Cassidy, have one-year options. It remains to be seen how many of those will be on that list.