Sunderland defender Zak Johnson is attracting interest from National League side Hartlepool United ahead of a possible loan switch, according to the Hartlepool Mail.
The 19-year-old is one of the identified players that John Askey’s men are interested in signing, following a series of injuries at the National League side.
Who is Zak Johnson?
The centre-back broke a 50-year club record when he made his debut in 2021 and secured his first professional contract last summer after completing a scholarship with the Championship side.
Johnson is a regular figure in Sunderland’s U21s side, having made three appearances already this season as well as featuring in the club’s EFL Cup defeat against Crewe Alexandra last month.
Hartlepool United have had a difficult few weeks, following a number of first-team injuries that have hit the squad. Firstly, playmakers Callum Cooke and Anthony Mancini have picked up injuries, affecting the club’s creativity in the final third.
Similarly, defender Dan Dodds sustained an ACL injury during the club’s match against AFC Fylde last month and will be out for nine months as well as Alex Lacey is also out with an injury explaining why a defensive reinforcement is needed.
The tactical side
Since John Askey’s appointment in February, Hartlepool United are still without a clean sheet under his management. This could present a tactical explanation as to why Hartlepool are keen to sign another centre-back.
What’s been said?
During an article in the Hartlepool Mail, they stated…
‘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.’
They go on to add…
‘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.’
If Sunderland were looking to allow Johnson to make a loan exit from the Stadium Of Light, Hartlepool is potentially the best-suited club he could join at this moment in time.
The club have had a reasonably good start in the National League but is in desperate need of defensive reinforcements if they are going to launch a push for the league title this season.