DAN JONES yesterday became the seventh Hartlepool United player to be released.

After six were freed last week, the defender joined the list following Saturday’s woeful end to the season, as Pools lost 5-0 at Plymouth.

Jones started at left back and was switched to his preferred central defensive position in the second half, as a patched-up back four collapsed.

He had impressed the previous week against Portsmouth, but it would seem Saturday’s performance has helped make Craig Hignett’s mind up.

Jones only started four games under Hignett as Jake Carroll took the left-back spot, and appeared 41 times for the club. He was a regular last season as Pools staved off relegation under Ronnie Moore.

There is still no news on the other players who are out of contract and. However, it is understood there is interest in both Michael Woods and Michael Duckworth. The pair, as well as Rob Jones and Rakish Bingham, remain in talks with the club.

One player who has left Victoria Park, Jake Gray, is back at Crystal Palace after making 33 appearances on loan.

The 20-year-old impressed everyone throughout his temporary spell. He netted six goals and returns to Selhurst Park with valuable experience under his belt.

He appeared as a second half substitute at Plymouth and was Pools’ best performer by some distance.

He admitted: "I was trying desperately to get a goal to finish off my season. I'm disappointed I couldn't do that.

"The manager (Alan Pardew) has said to come back for pre-season.

"With the Euros and players involved in that there is a chance the club will look at some of the younger players and take it from there.’’

And Gray admitted: "I've been lucky enough to have played with some very good midfielders and I've learned a lot at Hartlepool

"It's about developing game-understanding which you can't really get at Under 21s.

"I'm grateful for everyone who has helped me out.

"The 21s is just pass, pass, pass, no-one really puts their foot in.

"In League Two you have players trying to tackle you from behind so playing this football has been a massive help.

"I'd like to think I can make a mark at Palace.

"But it's difficult, there are world-class players, but it's hard at any Premier League club, how many players do you see coming through.

"I'd like to think I've done well and maybe I might get another loan next season, but we'll have to see what happens.

"I was on the bench a couple of times this season for Palace. I think they rate me, it's up to me to come back fitter and stronger and see what happens.’’