Hartlepool United have been dealt a blow as Ryan Johnson leaves the club for a permanent move to a fellow League Two side Port Vale. 

The 24-year-old has been a crucial part of Pools' season helping them achieve promotion to the Football League. The centre-half made 37 appearances in a Pools shirt scoring five goals. 

Johnson has agreed to join Port Vale for their League Two campaign after the expiration of his contract at Pools. Johnson is originally from Birmingham and a move to Vale would bring him closer to his hometown. The club have officially confirmed his move earlier today. 

Dave Challinor had initially brought Johnson into Pools on a one month deal at the start of the season but after hitting the ground running in the side, he had his contract extended on two occasions as he stayed with the club until the end of the season. He featured in the full 120 minutes in their play-off final win against Torquay United. 

Pools are due to make the trip to Vale Park on 27th November where Johnson may well feature for his new side. 

Having played a big role for Pools on the left side of a three man central defence for most of the season, Challinor now has a task on his hands to find a ball playing left footed centre-back to fit into his 5-3-2 system before the start of the League Two season in around six weeks time.

The Pools boss will also need to widen his search for a striker after Harrogate Town announced the signing of striker Luke Armstrong yesterday. The club were hoping to recapture his services for next season but the 24-year-old has joined a fellow League Two side on a permanent basis.