FORMER favourite Phil Brown has emerged as a leading contender for the vacant managerial position at Hartlepool United - but Sven-Goran Eriksson will NOT be arriving at Victoria Park.
SportMail understands that Brown is likely to apply for the position made available following Neale Cooper’s resignation last week, while a bizarre link with former England boss Eriksson is nonsense.
As we reported yesterday, rumour of Brian Laws’ imminent arrival at the Vic were wide of the mark and by lunchtime he had been confirmed as the new boss of Scunthorpe United, the club he managed between 1997 and 2004.
Betting had been suspended on Laws replacing Cooper at Pools with the former Burnley chief as short as 1-6 with some bookmakers.
However, Pools were never going to deviate from their normal recruitment process and that means applications will be gathered before a shortlist is drawn up and interviews undertaken.
Should Brown apply – which we believe he will – he will almost certainly emerge as the new favourite for the role.
He appears to be the number-one choice among supporters and has a strong connection with the club given his seven years as a player between 1978 and 1985.
Brown has Premier League pedigree following his spell in charge of Hull City and will boast an impressive contacts book.
He also has recent knowledge of League One following what proved to be an unsuccessful period in charge of Preston North End, where he was sacked in December of last year.
Brown has since been involved with the BBC in a punditry capacity but is keen on a return to management.
He was linked with the vacancy at Bolton Wanderers – where he was previously assistant to Sam Allardyce – and it is thought he was in the running for that role before the appointment of Dougie Freedman.
Brown was the runaway preferred pick among fans when SportMail last week asked for their choice of new boss.
He appeared 258 times in the blue and white of Pools during his spell as a player and has always been afforded a warm reception when returning to the Vic.
Former Pools loanee and England international Alan Thompson, another name linked with the job, could well form part of Brown’s backroom team were they to return.
Darrell Clarke remains a short-priced 3-1 with the bookies and he, too, would be popular among supporters, while Middlesbrough coach Colin Cooper is the 2/1 favourite.
Micky Barron, however, is almost certain to be in charge for this weekend’s FA Cup First Round trip to Chesterfield.
Meanwhile, we can confirm that overnight reports suggesting Eriksson is interested in the Pools position are untrue.
The 64-year-old Swede is currently working in Thailand and will not be returning to England to manage Pools.