By Mark Carruthers
National League leaders Hartlepool United have secured the signing of Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad James on loan for the rest of the season.
Pools boss Dave Challinor has brought in the former Gateshead and Aldershot Town loanee after England C goalkeeper Ben Killip was ruled out for the rest of the season with the elbow injury he suffered in the recent draw at Boreham Wood.
James joined Gateshead on loan for the entirety of the 2019/20 season and played a key role in helping Mike Williamson’s side reach the National League North play-offs.
He returned to Middlesbrough last summer and made a second loan move into non-league football when he spent one month with Aldershot Town earlier this season.
He will now go into the Pools squad as they look to continue their battle for promotion back into the Football League and will compete with Henrich Ravas and Brad Young for a place in Challinor’s starting eleven.
The Pools boss told the club website: “Brad has had experience at this level with Gateshead and Aldershot and with him being local is a great fit for us.
“With Ben being ruled out it was important we got an extra one in to cover all eventualities so we’re delighted to get Brad in and thanks goes to Middlesbrough for helping us get the deal done.”
Challinor has also completed the signing of former Boreham Wood defender Zaine Francis-Angol after he left the Meadow Park club earlier this week.
“Zaine is someone I know well and have worked with before. He’s been part of two playoff campaigns with me previously and has experienced high-pressure games,” explained Challinor.
“He gives us options down that left-hand side and his pace, power and quality will really add to the squad.”
On a busy day of arrivals before the National League deadline, Pools added Harvey Saunders, 23, on loan from Fleetwood Town until the end of the season.
And Challinor was happy to land the former Darlington forward to boost to his attacking options.
He said: “I am delighted Harvey is with us until end of the season. We have tracked him for a while but just hadn’t been able to get it done due to Fleetwood’s league situation. He is a local lad, knows the area. It is another goal threat for us and I know he is excited to get started”.