Ex-Newcastle star in the frame to land Hartlepool United job

Steve Harper
Steve Harper

Former Newcastle United and Sunderland goalkeeper Steve Harper could be a surprise name in the frame for the Hartlepool United manager’s job.

As things stand, no decision has been made on who will fill the void left behind after the departure of Craig Hignett.

We don’t want this to drag out

Yesterday brought the confirmation that Hignett and Pools had parted company by “mutual consent”.

The former Middlesbrough assistant’s 11-month tenure came to an end after yet another demoralising defeat – Pools’ sixth in their last nine games – to Crawley, and with the club teetering just four points above the League Two drop zone.

Since Hignett’s exit was confirmed, Pools have been inundated with applications for their managerial role.

The Mail understands that more than 30 CVs have been sent to the club, with former Southampton, Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday boss Dave Jones, out of work since 2013, believed to be one of them.

Further to that, the club have already spoken to four applicants as they look to fill the role swiftly.

It is not known whether Harper, currently on the academy coaching staff at St James’s Park, is one of those who has been spoken to by Coxall, but he is believed to be interested in taking the leap into management, with Pools providing the perfect opportunity.

Harper, now 41, applied for the role when Hignett was appointed, although he was still on the books of Sunderland at the time.

Back in 1997, Harper spent some time on loan at the Vic, playing 18 games while Mick Tait was in charge.

Meanwhile, chairman Gary Coxall has confirmed that Pools will not dwell on the departure of Hignett.

Coxall insists that time is of the essence when it comes to an appointment of the Scouser’s successor.

Despite some bookmakers closing the market on who would succeed Hignett, with Jones the favourite, Coxall says nothing has been set in stone.

“No decision has been made,” said the Pools director.

“We don’t want this to drag out but we also want to make sure we get the right man in place.

“We have had applications already and will take time to look at them.

“Hopefully, with a number of high quality managers being out of work, we should be able to make an announcement in the near future.”

In the meantime, the club have confirmed that former Under-21 boss Sam Collins, a makeshift number two under Hignett after the departure of Curtis Fleming to QPR, will take over first-team duties.