Hartlepool United to consider move for Sunderland academy star

Hartlepool United are considering a move for Sunderland's academy star Zak Johnson. Picture by FRANK REID
Hartlepool United are considering a move for Sunderland's academy star Zak Johnson. Picture by FRANK REID

John Askey is intent on adding to his Hartlepool squad having been hit with a number of significant injury blows to the likes of Dan Dodds, Anthony Mancini and Callum Cooke in recent weeks.

But the Hartlepool boss is also majorly concerned about the club’s defensive struggles having yet to see his side keep a clean sheet since being appointed as manager back in February.

Pools hold one of the National League’s worst defensive records so far this season with only AFC Fylde to have conceded more than Askey’s side following their 2-0 defeat to Woking at the Suit Direct Stadium.

Askey is without former Middlesbrough man Dodds, who suffered an ACL injury in the win over Fylde in August to rule him out for the rest of the campaign, with Alex Lacey having also been in and out of the side this season with injury issues.

As a result, Askey is considering a loan move for Sunderland’s academy star Johnson with the likes of Edon Pruti, Matt Dolan and summer signing Kieran Burton, seemingly, out of favour at the Suit Direct Stadium as things stand.

READ MORE: Hartlepool dealt another major injury blow

Johnson signed his first professional deal at the Stadium of Light last summer having penned a scholarship deal in 2020.

The defender, who is capable of playing both in the centre of defence and on the right, agreed a new three-year deal with the Black Cats recently having been selected, and captained, England’s under-18s this summer.

Johnson broke a 50-year-old club record on Wearside when making his debut against Manchester United in the EFL Trophy in 2021 at just 16-years and 141 days old.

The teenager made his first senior appearance for the Championship side in the League Cup tie with Crewe Alexandra in August.

Johnson was included in Tony Mowbray’s pre-season squad for the tour of America in July and has impressed in the club’s academy side with a loan move for regular senior football something the Wearside club may look to consider.

Johnson, it’s understood, has interest from further down the non-league pyramid in the National League North but Hartlepool are likely to be considered front runners to land the defender should they firm up their interest with an official loan approach.