Hartlepool United face a battle to land in-demand Gateshead full-back Scott Barrow - but must wait before they make their move.
A whole host of clubs have entered the race to sign the Welshman since Pools registered their interest in the player, whose Heed deal is up this summer.
Clubs from League Two, the National League North and National League South have made contact with the Barrow’s agent in recent weeks, meaning Pools will have to work to convince the 29-year-old Victoria Park is a positive next step in his career.
Despite having clubs queuing up for his signature, the Mail understands the former Newport County defender will not make a call on his future until the situation at Gateshead becomes clearer.
It has been all change at the International Stadium this summer, with a takeover in the offing and full-time football secured for another year.
But players remain in the dark about the club’s future plans. As a result, many are keeping their options open - Barrow is in that category.
Matthew Bates is desperate to bolster his defensive ranks.
The Pools boss is currently working his way through a list of targets with director of football Craig Hignett in a bid to strengthen one of the major problematic areas for Pools last season.
Bates has added Myles Anderson to the squad already this summer, but is keen to sign another central defender.
Scott Harrison and Louis Laing have been told they are free to find new clubs, despite having a year left on their current Pools deals.
While Bates has the likes of skipper Carl Magnay, set to be used more in the centre this campaign, and youngster Kenton Richardson able to play on the right, the departure of Blair Adams has left him short on the left.
Anderson can play there but Bates is looking to bring in a specialist left-back and Barrow is thought to fit the bill, with both Bates and Hignett big fans of the player.