HARTLEPOOL United are bracing themselves for the departure of on-loan stars Charlie Wyke and Scott Harrison.
Their loan deals from parent clubs Middlesbrough and Sunderland come to an end after tomorrow’s crunch match with York City at Victoria Park (kick-off 3pm).
The duo have been two of the stand-out performers in a struggling Pools side bottom of League Two and it is a major blow to lose both.
Under the terms of their emergency loan deals they will be returning once the 93 days are up and won’t be able to return on loan until the next transfer window, set to open January 1.
Pools boss Paul Murray is keen to keep the pair, both 21, beyond their existing spells but their departure will speed up the need for new recruits.
Murray said: “I’d like them to come back.
“They’re going back to their parent clubs at the minute, we’re in discussions about what’s going to happen on their futures.
“Whether they’re with us or not, we’ll be discussing it.”
Wyke, in particular, is attracting interest from elsewhere and his coaches at Boro are keen for him to test himself in League One and the Championship.
So far Murray has added free agents Nicky Featherstone and Sidney Schmeltz plus Scott Fenwick to his squad and had hoped to sign three more last week.
They didn’t materialise and Murray said it is unlikely any new faces will be in before the visit of the Minstermen.
He added: “They’re ticking over, but we’ve still not got them in yet.
“We’re looking at all options. You never know, something might crop up. But I can’t see any new signings coming in before the weekend, at the moment.
“It is difficult.”
Pools being rooted to the bottom of the Football League isn’t helping attract new signings either, with the manager looking for the right characters for the battle ahead.
“You obviously have people who question whether they want to drop to a team bottom of the league,” said Murray.
“That is always an issue and a fact of life.
“Some don’t, so then we have to get ourselves out of this situation and move up the league because then you become more attractive to
“I’m trying to bring the ones in who want to come here, who want to play for Hartlepool and for me.
“They are out there, it is just getting them.
“It has to be perfect for us and the club, first.”
Pools have been heavily reliant on loan players this season but there is currently only Wyke and Harrison on the books, following the departure of midfielder Matt Crooks who returned to Huddersfield Town earlier this week.
Murray added: “Loan players are important for us and they will continue to be.
“I spoke to Huddersfield about Matt and where his best position is, I have also spoke to Matt himself, and at the moment we are alright in that department.”
Pools remain without a Number 2 stopper as back-up to Scott Flinders, although trialists Joe Cracknell, from Hull City, ex-Peterborough United keeper Aidan Grant and former Doncaster Rovers keeper Jonathan Maxted are still training.
Murray added: “We are still deciding on a goalkeeper, that is all I can say.”