DANNY GRAHAM, the former Middlesbrough and Sunderland striker, has backed Hartlepool United to survive – and made a big donation to the cause.

Now with Blackburn Rovers, Graham has handed £2,500 to the on-line fundraising campaign.

Pools need to raise around £200,000 by January 25 to pay wages and bills. The club is up for sale, with owners Sage Investments and benefactor John Blackledge unwilling to pump any more money into the National League club.

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A Just Giving page, set up on Wednesday, has already topped the £25,000 mark.

Graham, linked with Pools during his time at Boro when Pools were managed by Danny Wilson, said on line: “Good luck Hartlepool United hope you reach your target ... I’m sure you will hopefully the whole of the north east get behind u and all the football fans out there’’

Marty Hewitt, who played for Pools in the 80s, has added £200 and said: “As a born and bred Proud monkey hanger - we will not let our club go under. It’s critical for the town to sustain“Poolie till I die “

The club’s supporters’ trust issued a statement, which described recent fortunes as “an incredible state of affairs.’’

They claim to be in talks with a prospective owners.

The statement reads: “The Board of HUST has noted the recent comments in the press that the football club needs £200,000 in the next 2 weeks for it to continue trading. We would like to go on the record and state that we find this to be an incredible state of affairs given Pam Duxbury has previously stated that operational costs at the club are £120-£130k per month.

“The football club is clearly in a much worse place than we have been led to believe, and we cannot understand why the owners left it so late before formally announcing that the club was for sale, as they have not allowed sufficient time for any such sale to realistically take place.

“We also note that the club have not given any clear indication of how they plan to fund the club in February, which is of grave concern to us, assuming £200k can be raised in January.

“The advice we have been given by Supporters Direct is that HUST should not give money to the current owners of the club whilst we remain in the dark in relation to the finances at HUFC. Pam Duxbury has given no indication as to why she needs £200k in such a short space of time, or what it would be spent on were it raised.

“We are mindful of comments she has made recently in relation to legacy debt and fees run up under the previous owners, and we would suggest that the club formally notify fans of where this £200k would be spent, as it is clearly a much higher sum than one month’s operational costs.

“While we are greatly heartened by the ongoing initiatives by fans to raise money, which demonstrates the passion and generosity of both fans locally and further afield, we have reservations about this being handed to the current owners until they have publically given a very precise breakdown of where the money will be spent, and more importantly, how they intend to fund the club for the rest of the season.

“Our preferred option would be for the club to be saved by the arrival of new owners with a sustainable long term business plan, which includes provision of running costs until the end of the season. At no point has the Trust advocated the club going into Administration and we are working around the clock to avoid this happening.

“In this regard the Board of HUST continue to have dialogue with potential investors and partners, we have important meetings scheduled for the early part of next week and would welcome discussions with any that we have not already spoken with.

“Our goal is that professional football continue to be played in Hartlepool, and we believe we have a viable business plan and access to funding which would help secure the safety of the club should investors be seeking a partnership with us.

"Again we must stress that we would only work with buyers who share our vision to create a sustainable and successful community club, with the intention of returning the club to the Football League.’’