EXCLUSIVE: North East trio chasing in-form midfielder

Rafa Benitez Newcastle United

In-form Hartlepool midfielder Josh Hawkes has host of Premier League and Championship clubs chasing him, we can reveal.

North East trio Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough all have a long-standing interest in the 20-year-old Teessider – who has hit form in recent months.

Hawkes, who has bagged three goals in his last four games, has been likened to Craig Hignett – who has just become his new manager at Pools and he is getting the best out of him.

Now Hawkes’ form is attracting other clubs with Burnley, Huddersfield, Sheffield United, Hull City and Barnsley all taking a keen interest in his progress since the turn of the year.

By Graeme Bailey