Departure of coach confirmed by Hartlepool United

Craig Hignett & Curtis Fleming.Craig Hignett & Curtis Fleming.
Craig Hignett & Curtis Fleming.
Hartlepool United have confirmed that assistant manager Curtis Fleming has joined Queens Park Rangers.

Fleming has this morning penned a deal with the Loftus Road outfit, having been headhunted by Ian Holloway, with whom the Irishman worked with at Crystal Palace.

Former Middlesbrough man Fleming, who will take up the role of first team coach under Holloway, departs after just 10 months at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

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Confirming the news, a club statement read: "Hartlepool United can confirm that Curtis Fleming has now left the club to take up a role on a first team coach role at Queens Park Rangers.

"Fleming spent his last day with Pools at the training ground on Tuesday before travelling to London to finalise talks on the move to Loftus Road to work alongside their new boss Ian Holloway."

Confirming the news the Mail brought you this morning that Sam Collins will step in, firstly on a temporary basis, the statement continued: "Sam Collins will now step up from his role with Pools’ Under-21s to assist Craig Hignett for this Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two game against Portsmouth at Fratton Park."

Speaking of his disappointment at losing his no.2, Craig Hignett said: "It's sad to see Curtis go but it's a great opportunity for him to work in the Championship.

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"He's given everything to this club while he's been here and he leaves with our blessing and our best wishes for the future."

While Hignett has lost the services of his highly-rated assistant, Holloway admits he's delighted to get Fleming on board.

The 40-year-old was in the stands for last night's Championship home defeat to Derby County, after putting the finishing touches to the deal in South London.

"Curtis is the ultimate professional – and will give me exactly what I want on the training ground," said Holloway.

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"He's a sharp, young man; brilliantly organised; great with people – and he's got a defensive mindset, which I think is something we need.

"I think he's absolutely perfect for QPR.

"You have to have the right balance with your staff and I think we've got that now with Curtis on board.

"Different voices here and there are important – and players respond to that.

"I'm delighted that I've been able to bring somebody in, so I can hand out the song-sheet and we can make sure we're all singing off the same one, day in, day out."

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Fleming, who said his goodbyes to players and staff on Tuesday, having taken his final training session at the club's Durham University training base, said he was delighted to be handed the opportunity to coach in the second tier.

And the former Palace and Birmingham City defender admits it was a move that came totally out of the blue.

He said: "I enjoyed working with Ian during our time together at Palace and this is a brilliant opportunity for me to work with quality players at a fantastic football club.

"It came out of the blue for me really, but I'm delighted to be here.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for me and one I can’t wait to get started in."