GRAEME Lee will continue to trial and test his Hartlepool United players looking to earn a contract for next season with the manager set to make changes once again for this afternoon’s game against Port Vale.

Pools have sealed mathematic safety with five games to go and are out of the play-off picture sitting in mid-table. Up to 12 players are out of contract in the summer and the boss is currently casting his eye on who he wants to stay at the club for next season as they look to build on staying in League Two at the first time of asking.

Lee asks that there is a level of understanding from his players at his plans to switch things up as h told BBC Radio Tees Sport: “The players want to play and they will get frustrated when they don’t. It’s trying to get that message that it’s only for certain reasons. Not for performance based things. We are trying to look at different things and we are trying to build for next season.

“I need get a clear picture of where we want to go. Every single player wants to play games so that’s brilliant for me but sometimes you have got to understand where we are coming from. As long as they take it in the right way then and they are ready to go again then fantastic.”

While some changes will have been at the forefront of the manager’s mind, some of them will be enforced changes with certain players struggling for fitness for this afternoon’s game at the Suit Direct Stadium.

Lee continued: “Yeah there has been a few niggles and injuries this week. It’s been a long slog.

“Managing bodies, especially with the lads who have been here last season, so there is a few issues going into the game. I might be limited with what I can and can’t do. We will do our assessments but at the moment there might be a few changes but there might not be a few changes. Joe Grey is struggling and Nicky (Featherstone) is struggling a little bit.”

Port Vale go into this afternoon’s game having won seven out of their last eight league games sitting in the automatic promotion places.