Middlesbrough are one of eight clubs interested in signing Hartlepool midfielder Josh Hawkes, according to reports in the UK.
Newcastle, Burnley, Huddersfield, Sunderland, Sheffield United, Hull City and Barnsley are all said to have joined Boro in the race to sign the 20-year-old.
Hawkes has been in excellent form in the National League this season, having scored three goals in his last five appearances for Hartlepool.
The youngster actually started the season out of the Monkey Hangers’ first-team squad but had established himself as a regular starter by December.
Hawkes can play a number of different positions across the park. He has started as a number 10 in recent games but has also played in a deeper role as well as wide on the left.
Comparisons have been made to former Boro star Craig Hignett, who is actually the manager at Hartlepool after taking the role on a permanent basis in January.