SportMail runs through the runners and riders in the bookmakers’ lists for the manager’s job at Hartlepool United

Tearful Pools boss Matthew Bates. Picture by Frank Reid
Tearful Pools boss Matthew Bates. Picture by Frank Reid

Who would YOU like to be the next manager of Hartlepool United?

It would appear the process is under way now the season has been completed and the club knows what league it will be competing in.

A weird and wonderful collection of candidates have appeared in the lists put out by the bookmakers.

Here SportMail runs through its runners and riders, so please don’t ring in if the eventual successor to Dave Jones does not feature below.

Martin Allen

There are few on this list with the experience and passion of the former QPR and West Ham midfielder.

‘Mad Dog’ has been out of work since February when he was sacked by National League outfit, Eastleigh, after just 14 games in charge.

He had left his old home of Barnet to succeed Ronnie Moore on the south coast but the Spitfires dispensed with his services aftr going seven games without a league win.

Allen knows how to win in the National League, having guided Barnet to the title in 2015.

But for all he is 16-1 it could be 160-1 – he has never managed north of Nottingham and is unlikely to start now.

Matthew Bates

“If you asked me a month ago would I be in this seat, I’d have said ‘no chance’. Everyone in this room would have said the same.”

Those were the words of Bates in the aftermath of Saturday’s relegation from the Football League.

Bar those two games alongside Messrs Paynter, Parnaby and Gallagher, he has no managerial/coaching experience.

But he proved in those two weeks, and in those two games, that he can get the players performing.

Given many of the same players will be going out to the field again next season, it is not a fanciful suggestion, though having a man alongside side him with either managerial or National League experience, or both, would be handy.

Third favourite among the bookies at 3-1.

Marcus Bignot

The first manager to throw his hat into the proverbial ring, Bignot even turned up to watch Pools at Cheltenham, though this reporter is not sure if he was at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium on Saturday?

Has experience of the National League level, having managed Solihul Moors, quite successfully it seems.

Took charge of Grimsby Town this season but his reign lasted less than six months amid rumours that many of the Mariners star players were refusing to sign new contracts if the 42-year-old stayed.

Of course, those rumours could be wide of the mark, but given the terrible management-squad decline at Pools under Jones, would he represent a risk?

Second favourite at 2-1.

Gary Brabin

Given the last three Pools bosses have all hailed from Liverpool, is there scope for number four?

Brabin does not feature on the betting list but that does not rule him out of the running.

Like Bignot, he too has knowledge of the National League, having taken charge of Tranmere after they were relegated two years ago.

He led Rovers to sixth only to just miss out on the play-offs and was sacked early this season, despite having won the division’s manager of the month award and being only four points off top spot.

Well travelled as a player, he also managed Luton Town at this level.

Not listed on the bookies sheet, but worth a look.

John Carver

An intriguing ‘candidate’, Carver is available having seen an eight-month stint in Cyprus end after being fired by Omonia.

The Geordie looks over-qualified for Pools having managed Newcastle in the Premier League following the departure of Alan Pardew two years ago.

He was sacked after winning just three of his 20 games in charge, but at least ke kept the Magpies in the topflight, unlike Steve McClaren, who succeeded him.

Carver was plucked from nowhere to work alongside Ruud Gullit during the Dutch legend’s time at St James’s Park and was subsequently assistant to both Bobby Robson and Pardew.

A 25-1 shot for the Pools job.

Sam Collins

Was it coincidence that Pools fell apart after Collins was, disgracefully, shown the the door at the club?

Big Sam is Pools through and through, having spent 10 years at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium, including 250 appearances at the heart of the defence before moving into coaching.

Collins has operated three times as caretaker and was assistant to Moore during the Great Escape.

Has the respect of the squad and staff and if he was appointed it would be a smooth transition. Ranked at 16-1.

David Flitcroft

Rated at 25-1, a couple of quid on the Lancashire lad would not be a daft bet.

Flitcroft enjoyed a good three-year run at Bury, where he led the Shakers to promotion from League Two in 2015.

The 42-year-old former Rochdale, Chester and Bury midfielder left the League One club back in November after 11 games without a win in all competitions.

But he is highly-rated after what he achieved at unfashionable Bury.

Craig Harrison

For anyone who said ‘who?’ when his name was linked with the job, don’t apologise, but here is a Champions League manager on the list and a North-East lad to boot.

The 38-year-old, from Gateshead, can manage and win ... and win.

As boss of The New Saints, he has just lifted the League of Wales championship for the SIXTH season in a row.

This season TNS reached the second qualifying round of the Champions League. Rated as the 15-8 favourite for the Pools job.

Kenny Jackett

The former Wolves boss looks ‘too good’ for Pools, though after his incredibly-short stay t at Rotherham United, he might see this job as a way to rebuild his reputation.

He resigned earlier this season at the New York Stadium – just 39 days into three-year contract.

Despite that five-game ‘run’ with the Millers, Jackett knows what he is doing, having led Wolves back to the Championship in his first season at Molineux and then to seventh the following season.

But, like Jones, will he be seen as the wrong fit for Pools having managed higher up the ladder. A candidate nonetheless at 25-1.

Tommy Widdrington

The 2003 Pools promotion winner has just started a new job, but don’t rule him out of this one.

Recently appointed as the head of recruitment at Coventry City, the 45-year-old former Southampton midfielder made over 50 appearances for Pools before being released by Mike Newell.

He knows the National League, having been player boss at Salisbury City and has just ended a five-year stay as boss at Eastbourne Borough in National League South.

Not listed in the bookies odds.

Curtis Woodhouse

If Pools need a fighter, then they have come to the right place with Woodhouse.

A midfielder with Sheffield United, Birmingham and Peterborough, to name just three of his clubs, the man from Yorkshire’s East Riding grew weary of football and turned to boxing.

Woodhouse is currently manager of Bridlington Town, guiding the Seasiders to third place in the Northern Counties East League.

The 38-year-old would be no more ‘left-field’ than Jones who was appointed boss at the Vic after four years out of management. Curtis is 25-1.