Hartlepool United’s pledge: We won’t be held to ransom

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HARTLEPOOL United will not be held to ransom by any potential transfer target this summer, writes CRAIG HOPE.

That is the message from chief executive Russ Green as Pools press on with their close-season recruitment plans.

With a surplus of unattached footballers to squad places available throughout the Football League, the power has shifted back to the clubs in recent years.

And Green believes that a lot of free agents will be in for a shock over the next few weeks when they sit down to reveal their wage demands.

The Pools supremo is convinced that clubs will be forced to tighten their budgets or risk going out of business, as he said today: “I think this is going to be a big year for football and I think a few clubs could go.

“I think it will hit home and commonsense will hopefully prevail.

“We’ve talked about salary-cap management at Football League conferences.

“And if a player comes along and says to us ‘I’m being offered this or that around the corner’ then we’ll just say ‘no – this is what we’re offering’.

“What happens is it becomes an auction and it’s a case of a £100 bonus here and there.

“But there’s even more players than ever available this year and there’ll be another one out there who you can target.”

Pools acted early in securing the services of Jonathan Franks last month and the 22-year-old is expected to be one of at least four new additions to Neale Cooper’s squad.

Former Pools stars Steve Howard and Tommy Miller – both now free agents following their release from Leicester and Huddersfield respectively – are high on Cooper’s wish list

The Scot hopes that his summer signings will help sharpen Pools’ attacking edge next term, especially on home soil where they returned the lowest goals tally in the division.

Green is well aware of the importance of a much-improved home record this term, and he feels that Cooper is the right man to bring about that upturn in fortune.

“Neale coming back in last season gave us a boost at the right time,” he said.

“I think there’s a good feeling around the place with Neale.

“We all know the home record needs to be better next season.

“Home form is so important for so many reasons and that is one of our key aims for next season to put that right.”