Reports: Out of contract Hartlepool United youngster Josh Hawkes attracting interest from Portugal while Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Burnley keep tabs on the midfielder

Out of contract Hartlepool United midfielder Josh Hawkes is rumoured to be attracting interest from clubs across the UK and Europe.

Friday, 19th June 2020, 6:07 pm
Updated Friday, 19th June 2020, 6:07 pm
Josh Hawkes of Hartlepool United celebrates scoring their first goal during the Vanarama National League match between Aldershot Town and Hartlepool United at the EBB Stadium, Aldershot on Saturday 12th October 2019. (Credit: Paul Paxford | MI News)

Portuguese giants Sporting Braga are set to offer the 21-year-old midfielder the chance to prove himself on the continent, according to TEAMTalk.

Braga currently sit fourth in the Portuguese Primiera Liga and are regulars in UEFA’s Europa League competition.

Hawkes was watched by several Premier Leauge and EFL clubs last season with the likes of Burnley, Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and Sunderland reportedly keeping tabs on the youngster.

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The attacking-midfielder made 22 appearances in all competitions for Pools last season, scoring twice, including an extra-time winner against League Two side Exeter City in the FA Cup second round.

Overall, Hawkes’ season was hampered by injuries that limited his time on the field – his future at the club is growing increasingly uncertain.

It’s been over a month since Pools confirmed its retained list with Hawkes one of three under-24 players to be offered terms of reengagement.

As he was offered a new deal, Pools could be eligible for compensation should Hawkes opt to join another club in England.

Kenton Richardson, Aaron Cunningham, Luke James and Mark Kitching were also said to have been offered new deals but none have been confirmed.

It was confirmed that Hartlepool ended the 2019-20 season in 12th position after the National League decided that standings would be based on a points-per-game format earlier this week.

The National League is hoping to commence the new season in mid-to-late September this year with social distancing measures expected to be in place. But Pools are reluctant to tie players down to new deals while they have no certainty over when the side will be playing competitive football again.

Dave Challinor currently has just eight players contracted at the moment and new acting executive director Martin Jesper is yet to speak on the record since he was appointed at the start of the month. An update on the club's situation is expected to be made at some point next week.