Newcastle favourites hoping to team up at Victoria Park

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

HARTLEPOOL United's recruitment process for a new manager should be completed early next week.

Former Newcastle United team-mates John Beresford and Rob Lee have applied for the post, with the aim of forming their own managerial team.

Paul Ince and Jim Calderwood, an ex-Aberdeen manager, have also put themselves forward for the chance to try and save Pools from relegation.

Pools have not won in 15 games and are at Yeovil today.

In midweek they lost 2-0 to Tranmere at Victoria Park, but did restore some much-needed belief and support after their FA Cup embarrassment last weekend at Chesterfield - a game described by chairman Ken Hodcroft as a 'debacle'.

Hodcroft is likely to announce the identity of the new boss on Monday or Tuesday, with back to back home games to come against Coventry and Oldham.

Phil Brown was interviewed on Thursday, along with Craig Short and Colin Cooper.

Hodcroft is sticking to his normal policy, which started with inviting applications before a double round of interviews.

Today will be Barron's last game in caretaker charge.

He will stick with the same starting XI from the midweek reverse.

Jonathan Franks was a starter against Tranmere and will wide in a five-man midfield this afternoon.

Last year, when Pools won 1-0 at Yeovil, the then-Middlesbrough man was on loan in the west county.

But he was omitted from the squad as boss Gary Johnson had a full quota of loanees.

"It was a strange one for me last year," he admitted of spell in which he scorted three times in 14 games. "The gaffer pulled me on the Wednesday and said I wouldn't be playing.

"I was disappointed because Hartlepool was a local team and I knew a couple of the lads.

"I'd played all of the other games so I was a bit surprised - whether he knew Hartlepool were interested in signing me I don't know.

"But I was in the stands to see Pools win 1-0.

"Yeovil played well and Pools were poor to be honest.

"But we'll take that on Saturday - a 1-0 win and a terrible performance will do me"

Franks performances have been mixed so far and a 30-minutue spell against Tranmere was one of his most productive stints of the season.

He is Pools top scorer with two goals, but should have made it three on Wednesday night.

Just 14 seconds had gone in the second half when he was in on goal, but put his finish too close to keeper Owain Fon Williams.

"I knew there was a defender at my backside so I had to hit it early,'' he reflected.

"It was a nice height for the goalkeeper and I should have kept it on the floor.

"If I'd done that we would have scored and probably gone on to get something.

"A draw would have been a fair result I feel."

He added: "Saturday was so disappointing and we just wanted to forget about it and show a reaction.

"The dressing room was fired up beforehand, it always is to be honest, and we were determined to put things right.

"I think we were better but we're still looking for that win, we need it as soon as possible to be honest."

Franks was one of former boss Neale Cooper's top targets when it was known he was free to leave Boro after being left out of the squad by boss Tony Mowbray.

But he admitted: "I've been a bit hit and miss this season.

"My two best performances before Wednesday were the two 5-0 defeats and I just need more consistency.

"It's been hard for everyone recently because it's been defeat after defeat.

"But since Micky (Barron) has taken over we have changed the style of play.

"I've come back in to the team now and I enjoy a 4-3-3.

"You've got a little bit more freedom to get out wide and get at the full-back.

"Hopefully I've done enough to stay in the team now."

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