Hartlepool United transfer latest as National League trio top Craig Hignett's wishlist - but finances prove stumbling block

Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett has drawn up an extensive wishlist ahead of the opening of the transfer window this summer.

Monday, 13th May 2019, 11:14 am
Jon Mellish in action at the Super 6 Stadium earlier this season (Shutterpress).

And the Mail has learned that three National League stars feature prominently on that shortlist.

The problem, as it is with the retention of some of Pools' current crop, could be the finances of any future deals.

While Raj Singh is affording Hignett a healthy budget by fifth tier standards, it is set to be dwarfed again by the likes of Wrexham, and others, at the top end of the division.

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Working within those constraints, the manager is convinced he can put together a squad capable of fighting at the top end of the National League.

Some clever recruitment, with a push for players with links to the north east high on the list of requirements, is seen as essential by Hignett.

And as part of that, Hignett is keen to raid cash-strapped, crisis club Gateshead again this summer.

Hignett moved to sign Fraser Kerr from the International Stadium before the March registration deadline.

That deal cost around £4,000 and saw a summer move brought forward by Hignett and Singh.

A similar deal for Robbie Tinkler, made at the same time as the one for Kerr, did not materialise.

And that is the first of three deals for current or former Heed players Hignett is keen to revisit.

Scott Barrow, who is the only player left at Heed with a full-time contract, is wanted again by Hignett.

Hignett and then manager Matthew Bates worked hard to get Barrow to the Vic last summer, but the left-back stayed loyal to Gateshead, signing an improved financial package, despite ongoing uncertainty over his club's ownership.

And England C defender Jon Mellish, who is out of contract after his Heed release, is also on Pools' transfer list.

The South Shields-based central defender was one of Gateshead's stand out players in the National League last season, as they came up just short in their bid to make the top seven.

Hignett likes all three players, but knows signing the trio may prove too rich for Pools and chairman Singh.

Former Middlesbrough defender Tinkler is wanted by a host of Football League clubs.