Young Stoke City defender James Butler has joined National League side Hartlepool United on work experience until mid-January.
The Potters confirmed on their website this afternoon that the 18-year-old has joined the North East side until January 14 as he looks to help their promotion push.
The Pools, managed by former Middlesbrough defender Matthew Bates, are currently ninth in the National League, just five points outside the play-offs.
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) November 7, 2018
And, Butler’s arrival is coming at a welcome time, with Hartlepool currently on a three-game losing streak.
However, the teenager will have to wait to make his debut, with his new side in FA Cup action this weekend when they travel to take on League One Gillingham.
Butler actually played against Hartlepool when on loan at Kidsgrove Athletic earlier in the season, which means he is ineligible for this fixture.
It was his performances with the Northern Premier League Division One West side that prompted United to bring Butler to the fifth tier of English football.
That means he will have to wait until a week on Saturday before he could possibly make his debut, when Hartlepool host Barnet.
This is a good move for the youngster and it gives him a chance to impress at a higher standard of football than he had been playing.
It should give Butler confidence as his loan spell with Kidsgrove obviously went well and this is giving him a chance to kick-on.
At his age, it’s all about learning and improving and the next few months could be vital for Butler’s development.
Thoughts, Stoke fans? Let us know in the comments below.