Hartlepool United have sealed a deal for Sunderland youngster Peter Hartley, skysports.com understands.
The 21-year-old central defender is out-of-contract at the Stadium of Light and is now set to leave.
Sunderland had offered him terms, but Hartley wants to secure regular first-team football and as such has accepted the offer from Hartlepool.
Hartlepool will land Hartley on a free transfer, but Sunderland do have a sell-on clause should they sell him for a profit in the future.
Hartley - born in Hartlepool - made his first-team debut for Sunderland in 2007.
But he has only played one senior game for The Black Cats - although he has experienced first-team football in the league before having spent a dozen games on loan at Chesterfield last year.
Meanwhile, the club have confirmed that midfielder Gary Liddle has signed a new contract with the club.
The 22-year-old former Middlesbrough youngster is just the latest Pools player to sign a new deal, following on from the likes of Andy Monkhouse and Michael Mackay.