HARTLEPOOL UNITED’S preparations for their return to the Football League have suffered a blow after striker Luke Armstrong joined Harrogate Town.

Armstrong, who is the son of Darlington manager Alun, joined Pools on loan from Salford City in December 2020.

He scored 15 goals in 32 appearances in the second half of the season, with his performances proving a major factor in Pools’ promotion from the National League.

The 24-year-old scored Hartlepool’s goal in their play-off final victory over Torquay United, and Dave Challinor had been keen to bring him back to Victoria Park on a permanent basis next season.

However, Armstrong has opted to move to Harrogate Town instead, with his permanent transfer set to be formally completed when the transfer window reopens on July 1.

“I’m over the moon,” said Armstrong. “As soon as I heard about it, I thought it would be the perfect move for me to get going in the league and at a club which has done exceptionally well in their first season in the EFL.

“Speaking to the manager, he has massive ambitions, and it’s a real family club which will be perfect for me to get my career going again.”

Harrogate finished 17th in League Two last season, having won promotion from the National League in the previous campaign.

“It's a club which has players dying to play for the badge, works hard for each other and as a team, in every league they’ve come in, clubs have had a bit of fear against them and they know they’ll be in for a tough game,” added Armstrong.

“I’m a centre-forward, so the main thing I want to bring is goals. I’ll always work hard, and people always describe me as a box player, so if I get chances inside the box, hopefully I can put them away.”