Who will be the next Hartlepool United manager? Craig Hignett discusses shortlists, applications and timeframes

Hartlepool United's Liam Noble celebrates with his team mates after scoring from the penalty spot during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Dagenham and Redbridge at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 1st December 2018. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | Shutter Press)'�Shutter Press'Tel: +44 7752 571576'e-mail: markf@mediaimage.co.uk'Address: 1 Victoria Grove, Stockton on Tees, TS19 7EL
Hartlepool United's Liam Noble celebrates with his team mates after scoring from the penalty spot during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Dagenham and Redbridge at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 1st December 2018. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | Shutter Press)'�Shutter Press'Tel: +44 7752 571576'e-mail: markf@mediaimage.co.uk'Address: 1 Victoria Grove, Stockton on Tees, TS19 7EL

Hartlepool United are hoping to have their managerial shortlist drawn up by the close of play today as they bid to replace sacked Matthew Bates.

Director of football Craig Hignett has revealed the quality of applications for the role has been high, and he hopes to start the interview process this week.

“The quality has been good,” said Hignett.

“We have had some good candidates, the usual suspects and some top Championship Manager (computer game) lads.

“Obviously you get all kinds when you put a job out but the quality in general has been very good.

“And I didn’t think it would be any different because of the club that this is.

“It’s not in dire straights, we have a good squad that will benefit from getting one or two in. It has got a plan and a vision and it a really attractive club for anyone coming in.”

Hignett, who hopes Pools can have a new manager by the time the club head to Maidenhead United on Saturday, continued: “We have got a big list to get through and we hope to get through that by Monday. But if it takes longer and we have to interview them all, we will do that.”

One that is for certain is that Hignett has absolutely no desire to take the Pools job permanently.

But has he been bitten by the bug of management once again after stepping back into the Victoria Park dugout?

“I want to go back into management but not here,” he said.

“This is a great club with a chairman with a vision and ambition. A manager coming here will come in and be supported to the hilt. I miss it, the training and coaching but I’m here to protect his investment, not to fritter it away and I‘m better being upstairs to look after it.

“I want to have a manager in by next week as I do not want to go through this again.

“Listen, if it happens, it happens. I don’t mind it, I do love being involved, I have found out so much about the staff and the players. That will stand me in good stead in my role. As far as my job goes this process has been invaluable.”

Meanwhile, Hignett has revealed why he brought Conor Newton on for Mark Kitching at the death - a move which ultimately proved costly for Pools.

Newton came on out of position in the 88th minute for left-back Kitching, and both of Dagenham’s late goals came down the attacking midfielder’s left-hand side.

Hignett admits he was disappointed with the way the goals were conceded and revealed Kitching was tired as the game closed out.

“I wouldn’t dig people out like that and Conor knows what is required, he’s held us hands up in the dressing room we win together, we lose together,” said Hignett.

“Kitching was tired. People come on, get up to pace, be ready but he’s an experienced player and he knows.

“It’s a sucker punch, I feel like I’ve been battered. In parts I was so pleased, but it’s remembered for the ending.

“It’s happened a lot to us with a soft underbelly – and it needs addressing, but for 89 minutes we were fantastic.”

Hignett continued: “We conceded two quick goals again – experience, fitness? In front they normally go into their shell, but not today – stayed high, defended well and I didn’t stand there feeling in trouble.

“At the end we got stretched, but that’s the time to get compact. Forget attacking but defend as a tight unit.

“The players know it, experienced players were telling others, but it’s different telling and doing it. They learn from it – game management and seeing it out.”