MICHAEL Brown could be set for a return to hometown club Hartlepool United, SportMail understands.
The 37-year-old is a combative central midfielder with a wealth of experience, having played for Premier League sides Manchester City, Tottenham and Fulham and Wigan when they were in the top flight.
Brown also enjoyed two spells at Portsmouth and was last season playing Championship football for Leeds United and despite getting on in years is still feeling fit and ready for a new challenge.
SportMail understands Pools boss Colin Cooper is looking to entice Brown to Victoria Park ahead of next season’s assault on Sky Bet League Two.
If the midfielder does put pen to paper, it would be for his second spell at Pools.
Brown, who stands at 5ft 7ins, began his career at Manchester City but joined his home-town club on loan in March 1997 with then manager Mick Tait’s side deep in relegation trouble towards the bottom of the Football League.
Thankfully, Pools won four of their last seven games to pull clear of danger and the on-loan midfielder played a key role – including scoring the first goal in a crucial 2-1 win against Darlington at Feethams.
After returning to his parent club, Brown enjoyed further loan spells at Portsmouth and Sheffield United before signing for the Blades in January 2000 for a fee of £400,000.
He made almost 200 appearances for United before signing for Spurs, then Fulham and Wigan before signing, permanently this time, for Pompey.
Brown – with more than 500 career appearances to his name – enjoyed two seasons on the south coast before putting pen to paper on a deal at Leeds United in the summer of 2011, where he has spent the past three seasons.
But this summer, Brown along with El-Hadji Diouf, Danny Pugh and Luke Varney were among the experienced players culled as United launched a major clear-out at Elland Road.
In a recent interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post, Brown dismissed suggestions
l TURN to Page 36
of him retiring, saying he believed he had at least one more season in him 19 years on from his Manchester City debut.
Brown said: “At 37 you take it in your stride whichever way it’s going to be.
“For the last few years I’ve been here [Leeds United] to help, to play some games – whether that’s 20 minutes here or there – and to help around the dressing room.
“That’s what I think I’ve done and I hope I still show a good example. Long may it continue.
“But I want to carry on playing. I don’t want to just step down and do some coaching.
“I want to play another year, maybe with a bit of coaching on top.”
A player of Brown’s calibre would certainly fit the bill at the Clarence Road club, with Cooper looking to add some much-needed experience to his first team squad as part of plans to revitalise the playing staff.
First team regulars Andy Monkhouse and Simon Walton were both released this summer, with Zak Boagey and Greg Rutherford the other casualties from last season.
It has left Cooper with a small, youthful squad, at his disposable and the manager will be keen to add some fresh blood to his ranks over the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, midfielder and club captain Antony Sweeney and forward James Poole are still mulling over new contracts offered to them by Pools at the end of the season.