Hartlepool United boss Dave Challinor has admitted his surprise after signing ex-Football League man Richie Bennett from Stockport County, as per a report by the Hartlepool Mail.

The striker has been allowed to leave Stockport County for National League promotion rivals Hartlepool United on a loan deal until the end of the season.

Bennett, who is 30 years old, will now be looking to help the Pools return to the Football League.

He spent part of last season in League Two at Port Vale and scored seven goals in all competitions for the Valiants before Stockport lured him to non-league in March last year.

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Hartlepool boss Challinor is surprised they have been allowed to sign him now: “I was a little bit [surprised] but a new manager came in and they’ve got a big squad now so for Richie in his position, he’s an experienced player, 30-years old and had been playing regularly.

“He wanted to continue playing football and no doubt, if there had been a better option for Stockport to send him somewhere else or if Richie wasn’t insistent on coming to us then they might have looked at something different. From our perspective, it gives us an option, regardless of how long it’s for but we always have the backdrop that he could be recalled in 28 days but when the registration deadline comes closer we’ll look at other options.”

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Bennett played for the likes of Curzon Ashton, Mossley and Northwich Victoria before Barrow signed him in 2016.

He spent a single season at Holker Street and caught the eye with the Bluebirds, scoring 22 goals in all competitions to earn a move to the Football League with Carlisle United.

The 6ft 4inc attacker spent two years on the books at Brunton Park and managed 12 goals altogether. The Cumbrians then loaned him out to Morecambe before letting him leave permanently for Port Vale in 2019.