Newcastle United star wants to manage Hartlepool United (but not yet)

LOCAL LAD: 'Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve Harper
LOCAL LAD: 'Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve Harper

STEVE Harper admits he would like to manage Hartlepool United – but says that day will probably have to wait.

The Easington-born former Pools loanee has been linked with the vacant position at Victoria Park in recent days.

Harper will play his last game for Newcastle United against Arsenal on Sunday, ending his 20-year association with the Magpies having signed from Seaham Red Star in 1993.

The 38-year-old – who was backed into 5-1 with bookmakers for the Pools position at the weekend – is set to complete his UEFA ‘A’ coaching license this summer and is keen on a career in the dugout.

And, one day down the line, that could well be at the Vic.

“Hartlepool is a great club, of course I’d be interested, but it’s whether it’s a bit too early,” said Harper.

“Someone said I was 5-1 on Saturday. I’ve not been putting money on it, but I wouldn’t rule anything out in the future.”

Harper is often spotted in the chairman’s suite at the Vic but says there has been no contact between himself and the club in relation to succeeding sacked boss John Hughes.

“I am doing my coaching badges and I know Ken Hodcroft (chairman) and Russ Green (chief executive), but I think people are putting two and two together and getting five,

“I’ve got family in Hartlepool and I probably go to a couple of games a season.

“But I’ve not heard anything about it.

“I do have family there and there have obviously been whispers whether I would be interested.”

SportMail reported on Monday that Middlesbrough academy coach Colin Cooper had agreed to take over.

That remains the case and the terms of his release from Boro and arrival at Pools are still to be finalised – something which could now drag on into next week.

But Harper believes Sedgefield-born Cooper would be a sound choice.

“He’s a great guy and a real football gentleman,” added the Toon goalkeeper.

“He’s a local lad that will know the club and he’s been in coaching a long time.”