HARTLEPOOL manager Dave Challinor has released a scathing statement regarding Rhys Oates' recent departure from the club.

The 26-year-old forward sealed a move to League Two Mansfield yesterday and signed a two-year deal.

Oates was offered fresh terms by Pools after the expiration of his one-year contract at Victoria Park but has elected for a move to Field Mill. 

While the forward is free to speak to other clubs after his contract came to an end, it sounds like the Pools manager, nor anyone else at the club, had no knowledge of Oates' decision to move on.

Challinor told the club website: "Unfortunately, Rhys will be moving on to pastures new. He was offered a very very good deal by the club but he wasn’t willing to back himself and has decided his future lies elsewhere.

"Everyone has decisions to make that suit themselves and their circumstances which we all completely understand.

"The only slight disappointment from our side of things is the fact Rhys has had no communication with any staff to let us know his thoughts and decision and that leaves a bit of a sour taste.

"We’ve had other players move on who have done so in what I would say is the right way."

It's an unfortunate way to end his stint with the club having won the Players Player of the Year and Supporters Player of the Year last season and scored 17 goals to help Pools achieve promotion back to the Football League. 

While the club are naturally diasppointed by the news, the forward did take to his social media accounts to pay tribute to the club.

Rhys Oates posted on his Twitter account to say: “I would like to thank everyone involved at the club from the manager and the staff who gave me the opportunity this season and to all the players who have been first class from day one.

“To come back to this club and help get it back to where it belongs meant so much to me and I’m so happy I could be a part of that.

“To win the Players Player and Fans Player of the Year is such an honour but by far the best one is that play-off medal which we all earned and deserved through the full year.

“Finally I would like to thank the fans for having belief in me that I could come back to the club and be a better player and create the memories that will stay with us all forever. It’s been amazing.

“Once a Poolie…”

Team mates and members of the club were among those to pay tribute to Oates following his move away but it seems like the way in which the move was orchestrated may well have burned some bridges.

Naturally there was a string of clubs that were interested in sealing a deal for last season's top scorer. 

David Sharpe, CEO of Mansfield said: "Another one done!! Had stiff competition for his signature, delighted Rhys has chosen to join us! Welcome on board Rhys Oates."

It now leaves Dave Challinor with more holes to fill in his squad with the League Two season starting in less than a month. Pools are currently without a striker in their senior squad after Oates' departure.