Craig Harrison is the most crucial decision of 'problem-solver' Pam Duxbury's Hartlepool reign

Pam Duxbury
Pam Duxbury
1
Have your say

So Hartlepool United have a new manager, finally.

Twenty days since Pools dropped out of the Football League after 96 years the club installed Craig Harrison into the hot-seat.

Craig Harrison

Craig Harrison

Pam Duxbury appointed the Gateshead-born 39-year-old this afternoon as the club made their first move to get back to the Football League.

Duxbury is something of a reluctant leader, given she is picking up the pieces following the sudden departure of previous chairman, Gary Coxall, from the Northern Gas & Power Stadium. However, she is a problem-solver and Pools fans hope she's come up with the right answer.

The chief executive is unlikely to make a more crucial decision during her time at Pools, with more than 50 applicants for the job meaning there was certainly plenty options to choose from. Pools, even after relegation, is still a big draw.

Due diligence was done behind the scenes with Duxbury and head of recruitment Paul Watson making sure they checked out the character of potential managers while whittling down the prospects to a manageable shortlist.

At times, the bookies odds had Sam Collins, Paul Cox, Gary Brabin, Curtis Woodhouse, Marcus Bignot, Ronnie Moore and Richie Barker all in the frame but it was Harrison they eventually turned to, having studied his trophy-laden CV, interviewed him at length and organised his release from The New Saints.

Harrison will be charged with the task of getting Pools back in the Football League at the first time of asking. It is a big challenge he has on his hands.

He moves from The New Saints, where he enjoyed unprecedented success, winning the Welsh Premier League six seasons in a row, as well as lifting several cups and managing the club in Europe.

Now, however, he must lift a club low on confidence following the damaging three-month reign of Dave Jones. He will inherit a squad not short on some good individual talent, but he must do what Jones failed to, spectacularly, and get them to play.

He must get to work quickly on the recruitment front. Pools have released nine players and while the club are unlikely to replace all nine, there is scope for the manager to bring in fresh blood. Some good players will already have gone elsewhere but Duxbury told fans the club does have a list of targets already.

Harrison will need the final say on who comes in because his job is to get Pools promoted, instantly.

He must also decide on who, if any, of the star turns are allowed to leave the Vic in the summer, and he needs to get a pre-season programme in place.

We've had to wait almost three weeks for a manager to land at Pools - hopefully after the disasters of the last appointment, they have the right one.