Hartlepool United are pleased with the appointment of former Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic backroom staff memeber

Graeme Lee has praised the appointment of Keith McGrath as the new head of sports science at Hartlepool United admitting they are ‘fortunate’ to have him.

By Joe Ramage
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 12:31 pm

McGrath was appointed earlier this week to replace Jake Simpson who left the club last month to once again link up with former manager Dave Challior at Stockport County.

Simpson was the second member of the Pools staff to make the switch to Edgeley Park after coach Clint Hill also made the move following Challinor’s exit from the Suit Direct Stadium in November.

But Pools have moved swiftly to replace Simpson by bringing in McGrath who has previously worked for AFC Wimbledon, Charlton Athletic, Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle Thunder Rugby League club.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Hartlepool United confirmed the appointment of Keith McGrath earlier this week. Picture by FRANK REID

He will work alongside Lee and Michael Nelson overseeing the strength and conditioning, development and nutrition of the first team players.

“It was very important [to find a replacement for Jake],” Lee told The Mail.

“Their role is not just as a sports scientist, they’re part of the backroom staff, the organisation comes through them with the players, looking after the starting points, they’re liaising with the players every day.

“Keith has come in and he’s hit the ground running, you’d have thought he’s been here all season the way he’s taken it on board.

Jake Simpson left Hartlepool United for Stockport County Picture by FRANK REID

“Thankfully Jake has handed over his roles. He sat with him before he left and went through his role.

“I said to him ‘make sure you tell him every detail of the role’ because Jake, and Keith, they do things with players that go above and beyond, it’s not just what you see on a warm-up side of things, they go into so much more detail.

“But the bottom line is he’s very good at his job as well and he comes highly qualified and he’s also been in football with Sheffield Wednesday for many years so we’re fortunate.

“He moved to the area with his girlfriend and just happened to be on our doorstep. He was already in a job with rugby but he was desperate to come back into football and thankfully it worked out for us.”

McGrath’s transition into the role at the Suit Direct Stadium has been seamless in picking up where Simpson left off and could be seen in his role before Tuesday's 3-1 success over Barrow.

And the appointment of McGrath may not be the last behind the scenes as Lee continues to look for ways to develop his squad on and off the field.

The Pools boss has admitted, now the January transfer window has been negotiated, talks can continue with regard to further additions within the backroom team.

Lee told The Mail: “We’re trying to. You go to other teams, and they’ll come to us, and you analyse different things.

“We were trying to progress and trying to build in the January transfer window where players were the main target and then it was about sitting down to just add a few additions that are going to help us going forward.”

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Hartlepool United coverage 365 days a year.

This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription to our new sports-only package here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor.