Hartlepool United are set to explore the possibility of cut-price deals to take Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Newcastle United kids on loan this month.
As things stand, Pools are unable to sign anyone due to complications with paperwork behind the scenes and the club’s current financial plight.
But the hope is that will change in the not-too-distant future.
And when they are able to sign players, they hope to land one or two from the North East’s ‘big three’ in order to help cut costs at Victoria Park.
Pools have a very close relationship with both Boro, due to manager Craig Harrison and his assistants Matthew Bates and Paul Jenkins, and the Black Cats, having brokered the Michael Ledger loan at the start of the season.
The hope is that both will allow some of their youth products to depart this window in order to gain valuable experience in the senior game down the ladder.
Sunderland boss Chris Coleman is a massive believer in allowing his youngsters the chance to grow elsewhere.
One player who had been earmarked to come in from the Stadium of Light by boss Harrison was highly-rated England youth international Elliot Embleton.
But Pools’ financial issues and the fact 18-year-old Embleton has edged his way into Sunderland’s first-team picture over the festive period, put an end to any talk of that deal being signed off.
It is likely that more players will leave the Vic between now and the end of the month.
Last week Pools confirmed the departure of Connor Simpson to Preston North End for £50,000 - although they are unlikely to receive the full amount up front, with payments being staged and some dependent on the player’s progress at Deepdale.
Talk of a fire sale has been quashed, but should reasonable cash offers come in any member of the squad, bar a select few, it would have to be considered given the club’s needs to make ends meet.
Keith Watson, Jonathan Franks and Tomi Adeloye are all out of contract this month, with Watson likely to return to St Johnstone following a successful loan spell on Teesside.
Even if the financial picture improves for Pools in the coming days, Adeloye is unlikely to be offered extended terms having failed to make a significant impact in his time at the Vic.
Franks is more up in the air.
He might well have played his last game for the club, but is someone who both Harrison and the club’s hierarchy rate very highly and could stay beyond the end of the week.
Scott Harrison is one player who is certain to be sacrificed, given that he has struggled to shine in Pools’ National League slog to date.
His agent is believed to have been working on his exit in recent weeks.
Allowing one or two players to leave and replacing them with loans at a minimal cost, is one avenue the club are exploring in a way to cut costs this campaign.