GIME Toure, last season’s top scorer at Hartlepool United, has left the club – one of 12 to be leaving Victoria Park.

With the uncertainty surrounding the sport, and no idea if and when next season will begin, Pools have today announced their retained list.

And Toure, who the club say has expressed an interest in playing at a higher level, has been released with his contract up.

New deals have been offered to Luke James and Mark Kitching, with Luke Williams and Lorne Bickley invited back for pre-season training to try and earn a deal.

Those released are Myles Anderson, Fraser Kerr, Michael Raynes, Niko Muir, Jason Kennedy, Adam Bale, Ryan Catterick, Mitch Beeney and Brooke Miller.

Nicky Featherstone recently signed a new deal with the club, while boss Dave Challinor is keen to get the loan players he had at the end of last season – Gary Little, Mark Shelton, Tim Odusina and Macauley Southam-Hailes and Rob Harker back.

Shelton has been released by Salford City – along with former Pools striker Devante Rodney – and the midfielder is expected to sign a permanent deal at Victoria Park.

Williams played a mere 66 minutes of football last season and that’s all he’s managed since signing for Pools back in August 2018 under then-boss Matthew Bates.
He’s had two knee operations and has been out towards the end of the campaign with a hamstring strain. 

His expired contract was based substantially on appearances and he has to prove himself to Pools when pre-season training starts that he is worth gambling on again. 

Beeney was brought in on trial and given a chance at the turn of the year to put pressure on Ben Killip, who remains under contract. But he was far from convincing and Challinor will look for a new shot-stopper. 

Muir and Kennedy both ended the season out on loan, with Kennedy at Spennymoor and he could be a permanent option for boss Jason Ainsley.