Transfer news: Matthew Bates forced to get clever in bid to strengthen Hartlepool squad

Pools' latest signing Peter Kioso.
Pools' latest signing Peter Kioso.

Matthew Bates must get clever to boost his summer transfer budget - with Pools required to sell before they can strengthen.

So far this summer the Hartlepool United manager has added seven new faces to his ranks.

Promising youngster Peter Kioso, who made his Pools bow in the 1-1 draw at Billingham at the weekend, is the latest addition.

But the Mail understands Kioso could well be the last player to come through the door, without Pools cutting their current crop accordingly.

It has been apparent from day one that Bates would have to trim some of the higher earners in order to put together a squad capable of competing at the top end of the National League this season.

And while the likes of Liam Donnelly and Devante Rodney have left at the end of their deals, only Scott Harrison has been cut from those who were made available for transfer, and have a year remaining at the Vic.

Jake Cassidy, Louis Laing, Jack Munns, Ryan Donaldson and Conor Newton were all made available for transfer at the end of last season.

But interest in the players has been minimal, although a number of suitors north of the border have considered taking frontman Cassidy.

The sticking point in any deal, though, is understood to be the fee Pools are asking for the former Wolves man.

Bates is understood to be keen to add another forward player to his ranks before the season kicks off on Saturday, August 4 at Maidstone United.

Meanwhile, Hartlepool will pay tribute to former manager Neale Cooper this weekend when a stand at Victoria Park will be renamed in his honour.

On Saturday, when ex-player Jack Ross’ Sunderland are the visitors to the Vic, the Mill House Stand will be unveiled as the Neale Cooper Stand sponsored by East Durham College.

A ceremony to mark the occasion will take place prior to kick-off, which is at 3pm.

A club statement confirming the news said: “Tributes will be read out, flowers will be laid in front of the stand by representatives from the club and there will then be a minute’s applause in honour of Neale, who passed away at the end of May.

“We’re delighted that Neale’s daughters, Amy and Ellie, will both join us at Victoria Park as our guests for the game on Saturday.

“We would ask all supporters to take their places in the ground in good time ahead of the ceremony, which is expected to start at around 2.45pm.”

Cooper managed Pools between 2003 and 2005 before returning for a second spell in 2011.

He was also a manager at Ross County, Gillngham and Peterhead.

As a player he represented Aberdeen, winning the Cup Winner’s Cup in 1983 under Sir Alex Ferguson, Aston Villa, Rangers, Reading, Dunfermline and Ross County. Cooper passed away on May 28 at the age of 54. Admission for Saturday’s game is Adults £10, concessions £5.