John Hughes has confirmed that Hartlepool United will not be signing former Newcastle United pair Dennis Knight and Michael Riley.

The duo - released by The Magpies in January - had been training with Pools in recent weeks and caught the eye for Micky Barron’s reserves earlier this month.

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Hughes was keen to bring them in on short-term contracts until the end of the season but the Football League blocked the signings as Pools are currently spending the maximum 65 per cent of their turnover on players’ wages.

John Hughes: “Unfortunately we can’t do anything with Dennis and Michael.

“The Football League came back to us and said we’re right on the brink of 65 per cent.

“If we go over that then there’s a transfer embargo.

“It looks like we’ll have to go with what we’ve got.

“But I’ll keep tabs on those two boys because they are good footballers.

“I don’t think they’re ready for the first-team but they have talent.

“They are two good kids as well.”