Hartlepool United manager latest: Pools could turn to experienced head after impressive applicants

Craig Hignett.
Craig Hignett.

Hartlepool United are refusing to rule out appointing an experienced manager, having been left impressed by some applicants for their vacant position.

Pools has initially suggested that they would be keen to appoint a young manager who could grow with the club, as was the intention when Matthew Bates was appointed in the summer.

But director of football Craig Hignett has now confirmed that the club’s top brass have been left impressed by several of the applications they have received from more seasoned managers - which could mean a change in tact.

Such news could prove to be a positive for the likes of Lee Clark, Neil Redfearn and Paul Ince - all of whom are thought to be keen on the role but may have been dismissed had Pools purely looked at younger managers.

But regardless of the age of candidates, Hignett believes that compromise will be the key for Pools as they look to decide on an first choice candidate.

“I think they have,” he admitted, when asked whether experienced applicants had changed their perspective on an appointment.

“We’ve still got some criteria, and obviously no-one is going to tick every box.

“So you’ll compromise a little bit. As long as he’s the right character then I think we’re open to it.

“If someone comes and blows us away in an interview, regardless of age, then obviously we would be daft not to listen to it and look at it.”

Conversations have already begun with some of the candidates that Pools are keen on, with a shortlist drawn up and interviews pencilled in.

It is still expected than an appointment will be made next week, meaning Hignett will remain in the dugout for Saturday’s trip to Maidenhead United.

The 48-year-old isn’t in a rush to leave the dugout, though, and is instead keen to ensure that the club take their time to ensure the correct appointment is made.

Key to that is an extended period of due diligence, to ensure that the new manager’s character matches the success on his CV.

Pools are keen to ensure that the successful candidate is able to work within the club’s current structure, while they would also prefer experience of the National League.

But Hignett feels that all that experience will fade into insignificance should the manager not be a good fit at the Super 6 Stadium.

He added: “Managers might have a really good CV but could have only stayed at places for two years - why?

“Because we’ve got a little bit of time now, we can take our time and do the proper homework.

“We can find out why, whereas normally people come in and you think ‘he looks good, let’s get him in.’

“Then you find out in six months time, he’s a nightmare. That’s why it’s important.

“You’d love someone with experience of this league who has been in and out of this league, but just because he has been in this league it doesn’t mean he’s right for the football club.

“The club is a bit different. It’s out on a limb and the way you recruit players has to be a little bit different.

“We haven’t got the money where we can say to someone we’ll give them another £300 or £400 a week to come here.

“We’ve got to try and be a little bit clever about it.”

Lee Bradbury remains the bookmakers’ favourite for the role, with betting temporarily suspended on the Havant & Waterlooville boss on Wednesday evening.

And Hignett confirmed he is someone that the club would be keen to speak to.

“Lee is someone who has done really well in his managerial career,” he admitted.

“He ticks a lot of boxes and, like I say, we want to speak to as many people as we can.

“He would be one who we would, yeah, you would be interested in.”

Hignett hopes that whoever is ultimately handed the job will be able to continue working with Ged McNamee and Ross Turnbull.

The caretaker boss admits that the duo have been invaluable to him during his caretaker spell and is keen to see a new manager continue to benefit from their knowledge.

“Ged has been brilliant - and Ross - and that’s why if we can, we’d like to keep them here.

“We’ll do everything we can because they’re part of our structure now moving forward.

“Ged is massive. He’s obviously got a wealth of experience and knows the area really well, as does Ross.”