Hartlepool United are eyeing an ambitious January loan move for highly-rated Sunderland teenager Elliot Embleton.
But the Black Cats youngster’s recent first-team calls, and Pools financial uncertainty, may put an end to any interest.
Pools boss Craig Harrison is desperate for reinforcements in the winter window having seen his injury-depleted squad go winless in the National League since November 21.
And despite being told he will be unable to add to his squad due to financial issues off the field, it has not stopped Harrison, along with assistant coaches Paul Jenkins and Matthew Bates, scouting a number of players from the North East’s big three.
Studies of those on offer at Newcastle United’s academy has led Pools to look elsewhere, but their travels to see Middlesbrough and Sunderland have piqued interest.
And given the coaching staff’s extensive connections at both clubs, deals to take their prospects, similar to the one which saw Michael Ledger sign on a year-long loan deal this season, are not difficult to do.
Eighteen-year-old Embleton’s second string performances have impressed most.
But his calls to Chris Coleman’s first-team pool, after an injury crisis at the Stadium of Light, could well scupper any hopes of a deal this month.
England youth international Embleton came off the bench in last weekend’s FA Cup third round defeat to Middlesbrough, following on from his senior debut at Wolves in the Championship a month previous.
He has been an integral part of the club’s under-23 side, appearing in the club’s Football League Trophy draws with Wolves and Rochdale last year.
The youngster is viewed as a player who could have a bright future on Wearside – but, should Coleman get a number of deals over the line this month, may be allowed to depart on a temporary basis in order to gain valuable experience.
Pools’ financial uncertainty, with the club up for sale and in the midst of takeover talks, also has the potential to complicate any deal.