Newcastle United and Sunderland could be dealt a blow in their pursuit of Josh Hawkes with Hartlepool United looking to tie the coveted midfielder down to a new contract, as reported by the Hartlepool Mail.
Hawkes has been in top form for the non-league outfit, scoring eight times in 25 games from his role in the centre of the park.
As a result, TEAMtalk claimed that Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough are all interested in snapping up one of the most exciting young players to emerge in the North East in recent seasons.
Barnsley, Huddersfield Town, Hull City and Sheffield United are also allegedly interested in the 20-year-old, who was born in Stockton-upon-Tees.
But The Hartlepool Mail claims that Hawkes is likely to stay at Victoria Park for at least another season with the club set to trigger a one-year extension in his contract.
The report adds that Hartlepool would love to tie him down to an even longer deal if possible, although owner Raj Singh will let the youngster go if he wants to join a bigger club and take his career to the next level.
Sunderland were blocked from taking Hawkes on trial 12 months ago and they, like Newcastle and Middlesbrough, could be left frustrated again.