Hartlepool United’s Hughes has his targets in mind

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JOHN Hughes has identified the players who he wants to spearhead next season’s challenge – now he says he needs the help to bring them to Hartlepool United.

In Hughes’s mind, the recruitment process for next year started when relegation to League Two was confirmed last week.

But now he says he needs the club’s hierarchy to “trust” his judgment and allow him to bring in as many as seven or eight players in the close season.

“You have to plan ahead and I put every trust in (chief executive) Russ Green to go and do that,” said the Pools boss.

“I want to bring a good few players here, not one or two. I’m a football guy; I need a good seven or eight to put into the good stuff that we’ve got here.

“I’ve got them all identified, so hopefully we don’t miss out.”

On Saturday, Pools ended their Victoria Park programme as they started it – with a creditable draw against a promotion contender.

What a shame then that what came in between the 0-0 with Paolo Di Canio’s Swindon and Saturday’s 1-1 with Brentford has resulted in them leaving their League One home of six seasons.

Pools took the lead on 25 minutes when Jack Baldwin had a shot blocked only for Luke James to rifle home from eight years.

Lee Hodson missed a gilt-edged chance to level direct from the re-start when he headed over, but he was involved in the Brentford equaliser.

His 39th-minute cross from the right was headed goalwards only for Scott Flinders, diving to his left, to palm the ball on to the post and Sam Collins scoop it away.

But Pools could not get it clear and it ended up at the feet of Marcello Trotta, who fired into the corner past Flinders.

Brentford, needing a win to get into the automatic promotion places, went on to dominate the second half which, in contrast to a lively first 45, was turgid stuff.

The Bees should have won but Flinders and Pools stayed strong to claim a point.

Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Holden, Franks (Horwood 83), Walton, Baldwin, Monkhouse, Humphreys (Rutherford 76), James. Subs not used: McHugh, Luscombe, Sweeney, Hawkins, Boagey. Booked: Walton. Goals: James 25.

Brentford: Moore, Logan, O’Connor, Dean, Bidwell, Hodson (Forrester 56), Diagouraga, Reeves (Adeyemi 65), Douglas, Wright-Phillips, Trotta (El Alagui 75). Subs not used: Gounet, Forshaw, Saunders, Dallas. Booked: O’Connor. Goals: Trotta 39.

Att: 3,541 Ref: Michael Naylor (Sheffield).