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Transfer Exclusive: Sunderland set to sign ‘Pools starlet Josh Hawkes

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TRANSFER EXCLUSIVE: Sunderland AFC are on the verge of signing highly-rated Hartlepool United midfielder Josh Hawkes.

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Hartlepool United v Sunderland: Pre-Season Friendly
Stockton lads Josh Hawkes and Lee Cattermole battle for the ball during a pre-season friendly in 2018
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Local football sources in the North East have confirmed to Roker Report that Sunderland AFC are set to sign Josh Hawkes from Hartlepool United, pipping a host of other league clubs to secure the services of the promising 21-year-old.

The Stockton-born midfielder has been a stand out player for ‘Pools over the last few seasons in the National League, making 61 appearances and netting 12 goals along the way, including a debut goal back in 2018.

The acquisition of Hawkes will add another dynamic, attack-minded player to Phil Parkinson’s ranks, as he and Under 23 coach Elliot Dickman look to integrate more youngsters into the first team set-up in response to the squad salary cap.

Hartlepool United v Exeter City - FA Cup 2nd Round Replay Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Josh Hawkes was first linked with a move to Sunderland, Middlesborough and Newcastle over a year ago, before Hartlepool extended his contract. Sky Sport News’ Jeff Stelling has extolled his virtues in his column in The Non League Paper, stating:

He’s a great creative, free spirit, within the team. I’m absolutely certain he will play at a higher level.

The prospect of signing a local talent - one with plenty of senior game-time under his belt - will be another morale boost to Sunderland fans ahead of the club’s first League One game of the season against Bristol Rovers at the Stadium of Light this afternoon.