NICKY FEATHERSTONE hopes to remain a Hartlepool United player for next season and beyond.

The midfielder is one of a number of players whose future is up in the air, with the squad back at the club today for fitness tests and talks with manager Craig Hignett.

Signed by Ronnie Moore in October 2014, Featherstone has made 197 starts for Pools. He scored his fourth goal of the season in Saturday’s win over Salford, but will it be enough to stay at the club?

"I'd be happy to stay here, I like playing for the manager and I enjoy the football he wants us to play and the way he gives us a licence to play,’’ he admitted.

"I probably had my best spell here under the gaffer a couple of years ago.

"I'm just as desperate as anyone for the club to be successful.

"It's not been a great time since I've been here but the club is on the up now. Continuity helps but that's totally out of our hands.

"What is important is that we recruit well and go again next season.

"I think the world of all the lads I play with but it's up to the manager and the people above.’’

Pools are likely to offer a deal for next season to central midfielder Gavan Holohan and Adam Bale moved from Sunderland recently.

The futures of both Liam Noble and Featherstone are up for debate.

Connor Newton and Lewis Hawkins are likely to depart, as is Carl Magnay, with confirmation that Jake Cassidy’s two-year spell at the club is over.

Hignett hopes to keep Nicke Kabamaba, but family ties on the south coast make a permanent deal difficult. Luke Molyneux is on loan from Sunderland and they will decide on his immediate future. Danny Amos has returned to Doncaster.

Luke Williams is out of contract, likely to be offered a reduced and incentivised deal after being under contract for the season without playing because of injury.

Defenders Myles Anderson and Peter Kioso are set to stay, but David Edgar will not have his short-term contract extended.

Goalkeeper Scott Loach has made 100 appearances for the club in two seasons, but is out of contract and could be on his way.

Featherstone added: "That's four wins out of five at home. Our form hasn't been great since I've been here, the manager wants to make this place a really tough place to come.

"We're not where we want to be, it's been difficult when there has been changes in manager, so it was important to finish the season well and have managed to do that.

"The owner has brought stability here and the manager has spoke about taking the club back to where we belong, the Football League.

"We just need to find a consistency we've not had for the last two years.

'It's not always the best teams that get out of this league, it's the most consistent.

"We need to find that level of consistency.’’