Hartlepool United sack manager Craig Harrison

Craig Harrison after the Halifax game.
Craig Harrison after the Halifax game.

Hartlepool United have parted company with manager Craig Harrison.

The decision sees Harrison leave his post with immediate effect after eight months in charge.

Assistants Paul Jenkins and Matthew Bates will prepare the team for Saturday's home game against Ebbsfleet United as the cash-strapped club decides whether to appoint another manager, or keep the duo in caretaker charge until the end of the season.

A club statement said: "We appreciate that, in recent months, Craig has had to work in extremely difficult circumstances due to the uncertainty over the Club’s future.

"Hartlepool United would like to place on record its thanks to Craig for his hard work and professionalism during this period, and wishes him and his family well for the future.

"The Club has already started the process of finding a new manager, but in the meantime Matthew Bates and Paul Jenkins will take charge of training and prepare the team for Saturday’s home game with Ebbsfleet United.

"The Club will not be making any further comment at this time."

Harrison took over in the summer and arrived on Teesside with a big reputation, having led Welsh side The New Saints to six league titles.

Early season optimism that Pools could bounce straight back after relegation from the Football League has slowly eroded away, and the 40-year-old departs with the first team 19th in the National League.

His rein at Pools has coincided with off-field problems which has seen the club's existence put into doubt due to financial issues, and a new owner sought.

On the pitch, having won the National League's Manager of the Month award in October, Harrison has seen Pools slump down the table after a run of games without a win.

Saturday's 3-2 victory at home to Woking was their first win since November 21, but last night's 2-0 defeat at part-timers Halifax Town left Pools just three points above the relegation zone.

Harrison came under fire from travelling supporters after the game, but vowed not to walk away, telling the Mail: "I understand the frustrations.

"We’ve not won as many games as we should and I would never, as manager of this club hide from the facts. I’m not a coward, I’m accountable and the frustrations are there for all to see."