Surprise exits and the future of Nicke Kabamba and Luke Molyneux - Liam Kennedy discusses the key issues at Hartlepool United
The season may be over but the stories, transfer news, ins and outs never stop at Hartlepool United.
So who will go and who will sign? Will it be a busy summer?
After the dust has settled on a disappointing National League season at the Super 6 Stadium, our writer Liam Kennedy gives his take on some of the big issues at Pools this week in our Q&A.
Q: Do you expect this summer to be busy?
A: “I expect it will be busy.
“Conversations are ongoing with players and their agents and I think we might well start to see some more movement this week after the departure of Paddy McLaughlin.
Q: Are some surprise departures on the cards at Pools?
A: “There could be. And I know that’s a diplomatic answer but the reason I say it is purely down to budgets.
“Some of the players you’d prefer to keep are higher earners.
“And I am not sure there will be the budget to retain those players and add quality in other areas - that’s why it could be the case one or two of the players who’ve started a lot of games may well go.
“There are a lot of plates spinning at the moment.
“There might be some who you’d keep if budget was unlimited will leave because the manager feels he can get X player in, who may be able to score a goal or change a game.
“The manager hinted that one or two experienced players could leave this summer - I put Lewis Hawkins and Carl Magnay in that bracket.
“Nicky Featherstone I am unsure about. He is a player who divides opinion, but the manager likes. If he is on form he can runs games but he does not do this enough.
“He has been here a while and could be a player who is allowed to go.”
Q: Who do you think those ‘surprise’ players could be?
A: “Scott Loach, Ryan Donaldson these kind of players - I have doubts.
“They want to stay at Hartlepool but the manager needs to transform the full-backs and up front - centre-forwards don’t come cheap.
“Everyone is fighting for the same players and they could prove more expensive for Hartlepool due to geography.
“When I talk about plates spinning - they will look and want players X, Y and Z. But they might not be able to afford X, Y and Z without allowing A, B and C to go.
Q: Who could turn out to be Pools’ biggest loss this summer?
A: “The one big loss will be Luke Molyneux. Excellent at Gateshead and even better at Pools.
“He will go to the Football League, when he is likely released by Sunderland.
“A deal is probably not on the table because the player will definitely be looking higher than the National League.
“He has transformed the way Pools play.
“Luke James will run all day on one side but Molyneux has that touch of quality to open the door.
“He has something that is very hard to find at this level.
Q: Where does a deal for Nicke Kabamba stand?
A: “That deal is probably a little closer.
“There will be clubs interested - it is up to the player whether he wants to relocate longer term.
“He has a decision to make with his family. He has been playing well and enjoying his football.
“The thing that changed recently is the system suited him less, he’s a little more isolated but, to me, is still a very good centre forward.
“I think he is still young, too, having not played a lot of games at this level and will only continue to get better.”