HARTLEPOOL United have bolstered their defensive options by landing Stoke City's James Butler on loan.

And Pools boss Matthew Bates has described how he knew he wanted the teenager from the moment he watched him in FA Cup action for the Potters.

The 18-year-old centre-back has joined until the middle of January. Butler impressed when he faced Hartlepool in the FA Cup during his loan at Kidsgrove Athletic.

“I liked the look of James from the moment I saw him play in their FA Cup replay against Workington,” said Bates.

“He has done extremely well for Kidsgrove, stood out against Workington and I also thought he had a very good game when they played up here against us.

“He’s obviously still very young but I was really impressed with the way he acquitted himself and with the reports I have had about him so this deal allows us to have a closer look at him with a view to something more long-term.

“The work is continuing behind the scenes and we’re chasing up a number of targets in various positions so I can assure fans we’re doing everything we can to strengthen the squad.”

Butler will wear the number four but is cup-tied for Saturday’s FA Cup game at Gillingham.