Hartlepool United confirm two key backroom appointments with ex-Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough staff members

Hartlepool United have confirmed the appointment of two key backroom staff members ahead of the new season.

Pools have announced Chris Napier as the club’s new performance analyst while also confirming Andy Lowe as the new academy manager.

Napier has been involved with much of Pools’ pre-season preparations having worked with manager Paul Hartley at Cove Rangers before a spell with Premier League side Crystal Palace.

Hartley has been keen to add to his backroom staff in recent weeks after recently revealing to The Mail: “We’ll look to maybe make one or two additions if we can over the coming weeks.

Hartlepool United have confirmed two key backroom staff appointments. (Credit: Will Matthews | MI News)

“I’ve got my assistant and we brought Kyle in.

“It's just little small details, it’s not extra coaches. It might just be people behind the scenes a little bit.”

Napier said of his official appointment: “To work with Paul and Gordon again was not an opportunity I could turn down. I will do everything I can in my role to assist the team the best I can.”

Meanwhile Pools have also made an important addition within their academy with the appointment of former Spennymoor Town academy manager Lowe.

Lowe brings a wealth of experience having worked for Middlesbrough and England schools Under-18s as a coach.

Pools recently relaunched their academy having been granted permission for a Category 4 status and Lowe will now oversee the players’ development.

“I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity. I really look forward to re-establishing a Football League academy in the club,” said Lowe.

“The role provides an exciting opportunity to lead on all aspects of the club’s academy in developing a strategy and structure, which ensures we have a successful academy that produces players capable of playing for the first team for years to come.

“Our immediate aim will be looking to achieve, and maintain, Category 4 status, with the longer-term objective of achieving Category 3 status.”

Pools’ chief operating officer Stephen Hobin, who has been integral to the relaunch of the academy structure, has admitted Lowe was a leading candidate for the role.

“Andy was a standout candidate and is far more than just a great coach on the grass,” said Hobin.

“We were looking for someone who can shape the future of our academy as a programme developer, not just a coach, and in Andy we have a wealth of experience having worked at Middlesbrough as academy coach for almost 10 years and part of the team that achieved EPPP Cat 1 status.

“Andy will report directly to myself, and therefore the board, and we will work very closely over the coming months to develop the strategy short, medium and long term.

“He has extensive experience in developing player pathways which is vital, together with the necessary skills and experience on and off the grass to move this exciting project forward.

“His knowledge of the FA, EPPP and youth development policies and legislation will be crucial to get the academy established this season with one eye on the next few years.

“Having the academy back in the club, and continuing our first class education programme through our long established partners at Hartlepool College, is a really pivotal moment in the future of Hartlepool United and I would like to wish Andy the best of luck in his career with us.”