Hartlepool United yesterday made four full-time members of staff redundant, two weeks after paying off two employees involved on the football side of the club. It is understood one of yesterday’s departures was from the first-team set-up.

And Sunderland have furloughed first-team players, contracted academy players and backroom staff.

The Victoria Park departures mean Pools are operating with a severley-depleted staff, after two other office staff were made redundant over the course of the current season, while the club’s kit man also recently left Victoria Park.

The club has opted to remove staff from their books rather than use the Goverment’s furlough scheme.

They have also made matchday staff redundant, issuing the casual employees with their P45 document.

Chief executive Mark Maguire last week told The Northern Echo: “We are in the process of a whole review of the business to ensure it comes out as efficient as possible and that involves some tough decisions.’’

Middlesbrough last week put a number of non-playing staff on furlough, with Newcastle United doing the same, to the extent they shut down the club’s recruitment department with staff unable to use their company mobile phones and computers.

The Black Cats became the fourth League One club after Doncaster, Portsmouth and Coventry to utilise the Government’s job retention scheme to cover 80 per cent of employees’ wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

Last week, Sunderland put its non-playing staff on leave, although several key workers remained to maintain the club’s day to day operation, most of those working from home.

However, with no sign of football returning, the vast majority of staff, players included, are now on leave. Manager Phil Parkinson will continue to work from home.

The PFA is in talks with key stakeholders to try and decide a plan ahead, with a number of EFL clubs asking their players to defer.

Sunderland added there was “no intention to ask any players or staff to take a wage reduction or deferral on their salary” and that all employees will be paid in full.

A statement on the club’s official website read: “Sunderland AFC can today confirm that its first-team players, contracted academy players and backroom staff have recently been placed on furlough leave due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“A small number of staff, including manager Phil Parkinson, continue to work from home, and the club’s priority remains the health and wellbeing of its players, staff, supporters and local community during this unprecedented period.”

League Two leaders Crewe followed Sunderland in deciding to yesterday furlough staff and players.

In Scotland, St Mirren placed players on furlough, while Hibs, Aberdeen and Rangers agreed wage deferrals with their players.

Some Hearts players have agreed temporary wage cuts with others in talks with the club.