DAVE Penney has become the first man to declare a definite interest in the vacant managerial position at Hartlepool United.
The 48-year-old has been out of the game for the past 18 months but has today told SportMail that he would be keen to replace Neale Cooper in the Victoria Park hotseat.
Penney, who has managed at Doncaster Rovers, Darlington, Oldham Athletic and Bristol Rovers, is currently based in North Yorkshire and has recently been working in a summarising capacity for the BBC.
Indeed, he was in the commentary box at Victoria Park earlier this month when Pools were held to a 1-1 draw by one of Penney’s former clubs Doncaster.
And, when asked by SportMail if he would be readying an application for the Pools post, Penney said: “Yes, I would be interested.
“I want to get back into management, once you’ve got that bug you miss working on the training pitch with professional players on a day-to-day basis.
“I was at the game with Doncaster and I’ve been getting to as many matches as possible.
“I keep watching players and I’ve been keeping in with some coaching here and there.
“So this is something which is definitely of interest.”
Penney already has a connection with the region given his two-and-a-half years in charge of Darlington.
And during that time he worked with a few faces currently on the staff at the Vic.
“I know Hartlepool as a club and I enjoyed my time in the area,” he went on.
“I’ve get up to date with how they’re doing and obviously it’s not good at the moment.
“They’re bottom of the table and need to get out of that position as quickly as possible.
“But they’ve got a few good lads there who I know already
“I had Neil Austin and Evan Horwood at Darlington and the goalkeeping coach Andy Collett was also there.
“So we’ll have to see what happens.”
Penney’s last role was as boss of Bristol Rovers in early 2011 but that reign lasted just two months and he was sacked after 13 games in charge.
In his most successful spell in the dugout came with Donny between 2001 and 2006 when he steered them from the Conference to League One.
Penney’s application is likely to be one of scores which land at the Vic over the coming days.
Currently at the head of the betting market is former Pools midfielder and current boss of Salisbury City, Darrell Clarke.
Brian Laws, the former Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley chief, has also attracted support with the bookies.
Meanwhile, former Pools loanee and England international Alan Thompson has also hinted to us that he would be interested in the vacancy.
“Pools is a club I know well from my time there,” said the former Celtic No.2.
“We’ll see what happens but I feel I’m ready for a move into management now.”
Phil Brown remains the most popular choice among supporters and we understand he is considering an application.