HARTLEPOOL United starlet Luke James is NOT a summer transfer target of Newcastle United, writes CRAIG HOPE.
It has been widely reported that the Magpies were weighing up a move for the 17-year-old, who burst onto the League One scene with three stunning goals back in January.
The Tyneside club have made no secret of their desire to bring in a new wave of talented youngsters to strengthen their development squad.
James certainly fits the bill and Newcastle sent coach and former Pools star Peter Beardsley to check on the striker back in February.
However, it is understood that the Tynesiders will not be pursuing their interest in the immediate future, although they will keep close tabs on James’ progress at Victoria Park.
That does not mean other clubs will not move for the Amble-born star and Bolton Wanderers watched him on several occasions last term.
Their relegation from the Premier League will probably prevent an approach, however, and the Trotters’ priority will be to assemble a squad capable of bouncing back into the top flight at the first time of asking.
It’s also thought that James’s absence towards the back end of the campaign may have deterred one or two potential suitors.
The teenager missed a bulk of games because of growing pains in his back and he will have to prove his fitness over the summer and going into the new season.
James netted three times from 19 outings in his debut year and bagged the Goal of the Season prize thanks to his 25-yard volley in the 2-0 win over Rochdale.
Meanwhile, another player who is likely to attract interest from elsewhere is Jack Baldwin.
Pools, though, were smart in handing the southerner a new deal last month and their investment is protected should any approach be forthcoming.
H Pools will host Middlesbrough in a Victoria Park friendly on Tuesday, July 31 (7.30pm), four days after entertaining Sunderland.