U-turns, missed targets and one loan signing – the tale of Hartlepool United’s unforgiving deadline day

Well, that was brutal.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 10:44 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 10:45 am

Hartlepool United’s first deadline day back in the Football League after four years away kept everyone on their toes until the last minute before falling slightly flat on its face.

Pools went into August 31 looking to bring in ideally three players before 11pm. At least one striker and a left-sided defender were the two main targets.

They would end the day with just one loan signing, but it wasn’t through the want of trying.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Mark Cullen in action at Carlisle United (photo: Frank Reid)

Manager Dave Challinor provided a brief update to The Mail on Tuesday morning stating that there will be arrivals but all potential deals remained up in the air.

The remainder of the day would see the club make countless enquiries, phone calls and offers in an attempt to bolster their squad in time.

Meanwhile, interest in star player Gavan Holohan surfaced but the midfielder never looked likely to leave the club.

At one point it looked as though Pools had agreed deals to bring players in prior to their obstructive Papa John’s Trophy match at Carlisle United – but sudden u-turns and players going elsewhere saw Pools go into the closing hours of the window empty handed.

Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor during the Sky Bet League 2 match between Hartlepool United and Crawley Town at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 7th August 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

“It’s been smack, after smack, after smack in the face,” Challinor said to accurately sum up his first deadline day as a manager.

Even after the penalty shoot out defeat at Brunton Park, Pools were still scouring the market in an attempt to get something done.

Fortunately, they were able to secure defender Edward Jones on loan from Stoke City with just minutes remaining in the window. The 19-year-old’s arrival means Pools now have 10 senior defenders at their disposal while their top priority of bringing in a striker was left unchecked.

A last-gasp attempt to bring in forward Benji Kimpioka on loan from Sunderland reeked of desperation if nothing else. The 21-year-old failed to score in 10 National League appearances for Torquay United last term and was seen throwing an object at Pools fans following the promotion final at Ashton Gate.

Liam Delap of Manchester City beats Eddie Jones of Stoke City during the Premier League Cup Final between Manchester City and Stoke City at The Academy Stadium on March 10, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

All in all, it was a frustrating day for everyone at Pools as the club now turn to the free agent market.

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Hartlepool United coverage 365 days a year.

This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription to our new sports-only package here.

Benji Kimpioka in action for Sunderland (photo: Frank Reid).

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor