After progressing through the youth team, Hawkes played 68 times for Pools in all competitions between 2017 and 2020, scoring 13 goals.
He left the club to join League One side Sunderland last summer and quickly established himself as part of the Black Cats’ under-23 set-up.
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"Hawkesy had a good season last season for Sunderland in the under-23s,” Hartlepool manager Dave Challinor said.
“People and players have to make decisions around what they do and you can look at things and go from his perspective, was it the right decision to leave a National League club at the time to go and play in a League One under-23s team?
"He’s done that, he’s made that decision and has got himself closer to Sunderland’s first team but not been able to break in. We’ve got promoted so from our perspective it’s been good but he’s gone and got himself an opportunity now to play in League Two.
“Hopefully he doesn’t have a good day but we know what threats he poses and the areas he likes to get into.”
When Hawkes became available for a loan from Sunderland, Challinor had contemplated making a move but ultimately decided against it.
“We like Hawkesy and wanted to keep him,” he added. “Of course when someone who is local to the area and knows how you play and knows the players becomes available, it ticks lots of boxes.
“But in that area, we have bodies and obviously Gav [Holohan], Shelts [Mark Shelton] and Feath [Nicky Featherstone] have been great in there.
"Matty Daly has been really good too so what we would have done had we brought Hawkesy in was putting another player in there. We think Dales can have a big impact for us this season and in the games we’ve played, in terms of the bounce games, he scored in every game so in terms of a goalscoring midfielder, we feel we already have one at the club in him.
"We have the bodies so didn’t really need to do anything.”