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Hartlepool United sign defender Fraser Kerr from Gateshead

Craig Hignett has moved to strengthen his defensive options with the signing of centre-back Fraser Kerr from National League rivals Gateshead for an undisclosed fee.

The 26-year-old Scotsman has been a regular for The Tynesiders since his summer move from Stenhousemuir but has now been persuaded that his future lies at The Super 6 Stadium.

A former Birmingham City trainee, Kerr secured a permanent switch to Motherwell in 2013 after enjoying a successful loan spell at Fir Park at the end of the previous campaign.

The 6ft 4ins star made over 50 appearances for the Scottish Premier League outfit before spells at Cowdenbeath and Stenhousemuir earned him his move back in to English football.

With Peter Kioso set to begin a two-game suspension, Carl Magnay recuperating after knee surgery and Michael Raynes back at Crewe with an Achilles injury, Hignett made the acquisition of a central defender his priority this week.

“We have a list of targets that we have been working on for next season,” explained the Pools boss.

“Fraser was one of the names at the top of that list so I am delighted we’ve been able to do a deal to bring him in before the summer.

“He’s had an excellent season at Gateshead and played a lot of games so he was someone we were keen to bring here and we’re thrilled he’s decided to join us.”

The former Scotland Under-21 international will go straight in to contention to make his Pools debut in Saturday’s game at Sutton United.

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