Hartlepool United’s Hughes hails Flinders as League One’s best

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HARTLEPOOL United are likely to field several enquiries for Scott Flinders over the coming weeks – and boss John Hughes believes the club boast the best goalkeeper in League One.

Pools’ relegation to League Two is almost certain to prompt the 26-year-old’s exit, with a clutch of Championship sides readying an approach.

Flinders has one year remaining on his Victoria Park deal, so Pools will hope to command a sizeable fee for the former Crystal Palace man’s services.

The player himself admits that he could move on this summer, ending a four-year stay at Hartlepool.

Flinders took a clean sweep of the club’s Player of the Year prizes last weekend and, for Hughes, the netminder is at the very top of his game.

“His form since I came in has been outstanding, it has never dipped,” the Scot said.

“Scotty is the best goalkeeper in this division from what I’ve seen.

“Some of his saves have been incredible at times.

“He has kept us in matches and has won matches for us.”

Before signing from Crystal Palace in 2009, Flinders enjoyed a loan spell under Hughes at Falkirk.

Hughes, though, sees a significant improvement in his keeper.

“Just working with him every day I can see he’s changed from when I had him up in Scotland,” he added.

“He’s a man now, he was just a boy back then.

“He has a real, strong mental mindset. As a goalkeeper, you need that focus, that determination not to be beaten.

“He has that as well as all the physical attributes, the size and the agility.”

Should Flinders move on then Pools’ close-season priority would be to bring in a replacement.

Deputy Andy Rafferty has missed the bulk of the season because of a knee injury and he is out of contract in June. Adam McHugh has been an unused substitute for the entirety of the campaign, but his deal also expires this summer.