Leeds United have been linked in the local press in Hartlepool to 19 year-old Hartlepool United midfielder Josh Hawkes. The teenager startlet is reportedly being monitored by not only Leeds, but fellow Championship sides Middlesbrough and Sunderland and Premier League Newcastle United.
Additionally, Sunderland representatives, who were looking to scout the youngster, were reportedly refused entry to a closed-door friendly last month.
Hartlepool have had a very chaotic season these past two years, as Pools ended their 96 year run in the Football League last season, being relegated on the final day of the season, despite winning at home over Doncaster Rovers. Over the summer, the club had to rebuild their team with new players, but most of them haven’t been very good, and the club is currently struggling in the National League, placed in 16th place on 48 points while clubs such as Sutton United and Boreham Wood are in the playoff places.
Off the pitch, the ownership of Hartlepool is even in worse form. Back in January, Hartlepool were reportedly days away from entering into administration before investors stepped in to help save the Northeast club. The finances at the club were already in poor shape before relegation from the Football League, but the drop in levels have put the permanent future of the club in danger.
Leeds United have been snapping up young talent from all over the world this season. In addition to some Spanish and Spain-based youngsters that were signed last summer, the club has also grabbed strikers Sam Dalby from Leyton Orient and Ryan Edmondson from York City. Leeds looking at a quality young player should come as no surprise as their has been a renewed focus on youth and rebuilding the Academy.
If Hawkes does sign for Leeds, don’t expect him to make his first team debut anytime soon. Leeds have been bringing the young players along slowly, letting them gain confidence and experience in the U23s or sending them out on loan. However, Paul Heckingbottom is allegedly experienced in bringing out the best in young players, so perhaps he’ll get a chance at Leeds.