EXPERIENCED manager Brian Laws and player coach Sam Collins are among the early frontrunners for the vacant Hartlepool United manager’s job.
Pools say they will be going through their usual preferred recruitment process – which can take weeks – so supporters shouldn’t expect a quick appointment.
But that hasn’t stopped a flood of names being linked with the job.
Even though the Clarence Road club are bottom of Sky Bet League Two the manager’s position is still likely to be highly sought after.
Former Scunthorpe United manager Laws, 52, who left the Iron in November is the current favourite.
The Wallsend-born former defender has also managed Grimsby Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley and has been linked with Pools previously.
Meanwhile Collins, who has been placed in temporary charge alongside Stephen Pears, is second favourite with Sky Bet at 6-1.
The 37-year-old defender oversees the reserve team at Pools and had been given increased coaching responsibility by the club’s former manager Colin Cooper,
Former Pools striker Richie Barker, who has managed Crawley Town and Portsmouth, is also among the early favourites but isn’t listed in the latest odds from Sky Bet.
The 39-year-old spent two years at Pools between 2007 and 2009, scoring 23 goals in 62 appearances.
Pears, who is the club’s assistant manager and goalkeeping coach, is also in the betting.
Other names in the frame at this early stage include former Wales international Dean Saunders, 50, who has previously managed Wrexham, Doncaster Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Meanwhile, Hartlepool-born Mark Venus – a former Pools player – has also been linked alongside Barnet boss Martin Allen, Gateshead manager Gary Mills and former Accrington Stanley manager James Beattie.
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Former Pools and Newcastle United winger Nobby Solano left Pools under a cloud but he did apply for the Carlisle manager’s job recently and could fancy a return to Victoria Park.
Pools legend Ritchie Humphreys, currently playing with League One side Chesterfield, is 12-1 for the job according to the latest figures from Sky Bet, who sponsor the Football League.
Humphreys, who played 542 games for the club scoring 37 goals, was named Player of the Century in 2008 and even has a street named after him and the current PFA chairman has regularly been put forward as a potential future Pools manager.
Current midfielder Tommy Miller, who is enjoying his second spell at the club, is also included and listed at 20-1. He does have management experience.
The 35-year-old had a temporary spell as caretaker manager alongside Darren Ward when Paulo Di Canio left Swindon Town.
Former Carlisle United manager Graham Kavanagh has also been linked and has previously applied for the managers job.
Other notable inclusions in the betting include former Cardiff City manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and former Leeds United boss David Hockaday, who had a short spell in charge of the Yorkshire club earlier this season before he was sacked after just 70 days.
One highly unlikely appointment is former Sunderland manager Paulo Di Canio, currently 50-1, while Hartlepool-born Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling is also in the betting at 500-1.
Whoever does get the gig has a tough task on their hands in rescuing Pools from their current plight.
Latest odds from Sky Bet for the next permanent manager of Hartlepool United.
Brian Laws 2/1
Sam Collins 6/1
Stephen Pears 8/1
Gary Mills 10/1
Graham Kavanagh 10/1
James Beattie 12/1
Ritchie Humphreys 12/1
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 14/1
Martin Allen 14/1
Nicky Barmby 16/1
David Hockaday 16/1
Nigel Worthington 16/1
Tommy Miller 20/1
Kevin Blackwell 20/1
Brian Horton 25/1
Phil Brown 25/1
Terry Connor 28/1
Alan Curbishley 33/1
Dougie Freedman 50/1
Paulo di Canio 50/1
Alan Pardew 100/1
Jeff Stelling 500/1