Pools stalk Stag

HARTLEPOOL United have made a bid for highly-rated Mansfield defender Alex John-Baptiste.

John-Baptiste, 21, was believed to be close to joining Championship side Norwich City after two visits to Carrow Road in the past 10 days.

But the Canaries face stiff competition for the out-of-contract Stags star's signature as Pools have also offered the defender a contract.

Earlier this month, Mansfield manager Bill Dearden, currently away on holiday, offered John-Baptiste one of the best deals ever to a player who has come through the ranks at Field Mill to stay at the club.

He said: "We are not trying to keep him on the cheap. He is being offered good money to stay here."

Pools manager Danny Wilson, who snapped up John-Baptiste's former team-mate Richard Barker from the club in January, is an admirer and is believed to have tabled an offer.

Meanwhile, released Pools striker Michael Proctor has agreed a permanent move to League Two side Wrexham.

Proctor, who scored for the Dragons in their dramatic last-day win over Boston United at the Racecourse Ground, will sign for the North Wales outfit when his Pools contract expires at the end of next month.

Born in Sunderland, Proctor, 26, played for his hometown club before moving on loan to several clubs until Rotherham United snapped him up in 2004.

Former boss Martin Scott signed Proctor from the Millers two years ago, but his time at Victoria Park was blighted by injuries and a lack of form.

He will probably be best remembered by Pools fans for scoring a brace in the 3-1 over arch rivals Darlington in the Carling Cup two seasons ago.

Proctor scored seven goals in 32 appearances for Pools and was one of 10 players released by boss Danny Wilson recently and has signed a three-year deal with Wrexham.

Darryl Duffy, the former Pools loanee, will today meet Hull City boss Phil Brown to decide on his future.

Pools have made a bid for the Scot, as have Swansea City and Hibernian.

POOLS groundsman David Brown has been named Wickes League Two groundsman of the year.