Shocked Paul Murray had no option but to rebuild Hartlepool United squad

GOAL: Scott Fenwick scores his first goal for Hartlepool United on his home debut against York City. Picture by FRANK REID
GOAL: Scott Fenwick scores his first goal for Hartlepool United on his home debut against York City. Picture by FRANK REID
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PAUL Murray admits he has been left with no option but to rebuild his Hartlepool United squad mid-season.

Since taking charge at the end of October the Cumbrian has brought in no fewer than eight new players – four on permanent contracts and four on short-term loan deals.

He hasn’t finished yet either and wants to bring in more players to add quality to his under-performing side who find themselves bottom of the Football League.

The return of defender Scott Harrison and top scorer Charlie Wyke to Sunderland and Middlesbrough following the end of their loan spells left an already bare squad stretched even further.

Murray was quick to bring in Cambridge United defender Matteo Lanzoni on loan, while Newcastle United striker Adam Campbell and Sheffield United’s Joe Ironside have also come in as short-term cover.

But Murray wants more.

Murray told SportMail: “We are looking at bringing in players to various positions.

“I wouldn’t have expected to [re-build the squad] but I have had to address it and we are still looking for other players.

“I felt I had to because we needed a stronger squad.

“The age gap in the squad needed bridging, hence Matteo coming in who is 26 and has a bit of experience and nous playing. That is where I have tried to address it.”

His first three loan signings since taking over from Colin Cooper added to his permanent signings; goalkeeper Jon Maxted, midfielders Nicky Featherstone and Sidney Schmeltz plus striker Scott Fenwick.

Although a necessary move, the situation is far from ideal with the new signings needing to hit the ground running for a club in desperate need of league wins.

Despite bringing in more than half a dozen new signings so far, Murray admits it has proved difficult to attract players to a team bottom of the Football League. Pools are rooted to the foot of Sky Bet League Two with just 12 points from their opening 18 league matches and a shocking goal difference of minus 18.

But the 38-year-old only wants those players up to the challenge of turning around Pools’ season.

“It is proving difficult,” added Murray. “I’ve had some players look at it and say they don’t really want to go to the bottom of the Football League.

“But I don’t want those, I want players who I phone, ask if they want to come and they say yes.

“That’s the sort I’m pursuing.”