Hartlepool United can approach Paul Cox, but Barrow want him to stay

Paul Cox: Barrow manager. Picture courtesy: North-West Evening Mail
Paul Cox: Barrow manager. Picture courtesy: North-West Evening Mail
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Owner Paul Casson has given Paul Cox permission to speak to Hartlepool United - but hopes he will stay at Barrow.

There had been conflicting reports this afternoon surrounding the future of the 45-year-old Bluebirds boss.

A report in the North-West Evening Mail had claimed Barrow had receive no approach from Pools while Sky Sports were suggesting they had.

But now, Mr Casson has spoken about the situation and confirmed Pools can approach his manager.

Speaking to the North-West Evening Mail in the early morning from his Texas home, Casson said: “We're always happy for Paul to speak to anybody – I find it very flattering that people want to talk to our manager.

“If anybody requests permission to speak to anybody, we will always give it. This is not North Korea.

“We sincerely hope that Paul decides to continue as manager of Barrow AFC.”

Earlier in the day Barrow chief executive Austin Straker suggested that any deal for Pools to prise the 45-year-old from Holker Street would be potentially expensive for Pools.

“There is a compensation clause in his contract, he can't just walk away," Straker told the North-West Evening Mail.

"I would be very disappointed if it were to be true – he came here for a reason and he has been working towards project, which he was buying into.

“We saw an opportunity for him to grow and for the club to grow. My wishes are that we still have him as manager for next season and beyond.”

Cox led Barrow to seventh in the National League this season, having led Mansfield to the NL title previously.

The Nottingham-born former Halifax and Notts Co midfielder still has two seasons of a three-year deal to run with the Bluebirds, hence Pools would need to pay what is believed to be a hefty compensation.