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HJK Helsinki 17:30 Liverpool

Reds reject Hatters youth

By Tom Adams.   Last Updated: 31/10/05 4:44pm

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Liverpool have opted against signing Stockport starlet James Tunnicliffe after he failed to impress Rafa Benitez.

The 16-year-old defender had been on trial at Anfield for two weeks in a bid to impress the European Champions, but did not do enough to warrant the completion of a pre-arranged £750,000 deal.

Tunnicliffe was handed an extra week with The Reds in order for Spanish tactician Benitez to cast his eye over the youngster, but he will now return to The Hatters for their League Two campaign.

The stopper is yet to make his first team bow, although Hatters boss Chris Turner believes his time at Anfield can only serve to help foster the development of the promising player.

"He's had two weeks with them but he's staying with us," said Turner.

"It has been a fantastic experience for him and I'm sure it'll benefit both the player and Stockport County.

"He trains with our first team at the moment and doesn't look out of place at the age of 16 so you can imagine how highly we regard him."

Meanwhile, midfielder Gavin Strachan has had his loan spell at Edgeley Park cut short as he is unavailable to play in Saturday's FA Cup clash with Swansea as Hartlepool were keen to prevent him becoming cup-tied.

Despite sending the former Coventry man home, Turner has been sufficiently impressed to weigh up whether to table a permanent deal.

"We can't play Gavin on Saturday and, as Mickael Wolski and Danny Boshell are available again, we felt it best if he returned to Hartlepool," Turner told the club's official website.

"Gavin has done very well for us though, and he's someone we might look to bring in permanently to Edgeley Park if he became available in the future."

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