Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates explains the logic behind signing Stoke City defender James Butler

James Butler in action against Pools.
James Butler in action against Pools.
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Matthew Bates has described the signing of teenage Stoke City defender James Butler as a “no lose” for Hartlepool United.

The 18-year-old was not in the Pools squad for the weekend draw at Gillingham due to his involvement in the competition with previous club Kidsgrove Athletic.

And Bates has revealed the player is not necessarily set to be involved in his thinking when Pools return to National League action against Barnet this weekend either.

Explaining his thoughts behind signing the player on a two-month loan, Bates said: “It is not costing us a penny so it is a no lose for us.

“We get the chance to look at him. He has come from a good academy.

“Coming from the academy he has he has been schooled well.

“It was nothing to do with the suspensions why we have brought him in. This is a signing made with the longer term in mind.

“He is not a player I necessarily see going straight into the team.

“He might if he hits the ground running but at the end of the day he is only 18 and will have a good future in the game.”

The form of Pools back four at Gillingham has left Bates with a headache.

But he will be forced to change things up, with Carl Magnay suspended, although Peter Kioso will return to the XI.

Butler’s addition has added an extra string to Pools’ bow, though, according to Bates.

“He is a big lad, not scared to head it, he is comfortable on the ball,” said the manager.

“Being a defender I like to think I can see one quite quickly. And he is a player I liked from the off.

“I spoke to Higgy and told him to watch the player - he liked him, too. We both think there is something there.

“We need to be honest - we have not seen him stretched in games yet. That will be the test for him.

“He looks a very, very composed player.”

Meanwhile, Pools midfielder Ryan Donaldson, who played in his more usual advanced role on Saturday, has revealed the dressing room at the Super 6 Stadium is a very different place to what it was last season.

While part of that he says is down to Bates, Donaldson has also hinted a big factor this season has been the players brought into the mix by the manager.

Talking about morale, the former Gateshead, Cambridge and Plymouth wideman, said: “The away trips are good because we have got a good thing going on here at the moment.

“All the players get on really well with each other and it is nice to be able to spend more time with the other players.

“The dressing room feels different to what it did last year.

“Even the lads who aren’t playing want to be back in. That keeps everyone pushing to get better.

“You get that when a squad of players buys into what a manager and a club is trying to do.

“You get the most out of your work when you enjoy it. And we do here.”