PHIL Brown will today be charged with the task of trying to keep Hartlepool United in League One - a job he describes as "possibly the biggest challenge of my career''.

Three weeks after Neale Cooper's final game in charge, Brown will be appointed the Scot's successor.

He watched Pools' reserve side lose 2-1 at Gateshead last night, where he was accompanied by Brian Horton, who was his No 2 at Hull City and Preston.

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Horton is likely to follow him to Victoria Park, while he is also expected to appoint Fred Barber, the one-time Darlington shot-stopper as goalkeeping coach.

Brown took in Pools 2-0 home defeat to Tranmere last Wednesday, where he sat alongside his long-time trusted scout Bob Shaw.

He was interviewed the following day and held a further round of talks with chairman Ken Hodcroft yesterday where details were ironed out.

Caretaker boss Micky Barron, who was first-team coach under Cooper, is likely to revert back to his old position as youth team coach under the new management regime.

Speaking yesterday morning before the talks with Hodcroft, Brown, 53, indicated he was relishing the chance to take control at Pools, who are nine points shy of safety in League One and without a win since September 1- a run of 16 games .

He said: "I have spoken to a number of football clubs during my time out since Preston and I have had one or two very good offers, but it doesn't matter where you are in life you have to consider your own situation.

"What I've looked at in the main is the amount of Championship clubs that become available and I have not really been considered for them so I think the time is right for me to maybe prove myself again and go back down a division and possibly grab a hold of a challenge, get my hands dirty as a coach or a manager and try and run a football club to the best of my ability to show people I am not scared of a challenge such as a Hartlepool United.''

Brown, whose last job was at Preston where he was sacked last December, after ironically leading his side to a 1-0 win at Victoria Park.

He added on Sky Sports Radio: "I don't think you can ever be under any illusions when you're a new manager going into a club, invariably you will inherit a problem otherwise there would not be a vacancy and that is the case at Hartlepool United and I am under no illusions and I am not kidding myself.

"It is a big ask and it can't be an overnight success, but to survive this year would be a massive challenge but obviously not impossible,"

"When I've sat with directors and chairman and chief executives, I hope people aren't frightened of taking a risk, or high-risk strategy.

"It would possibly be the biggest challenge of my career.''

Brown made 249 appearances for Pools from 1979 to 1985 before leaving for Halifax and embarking on a coaching career that included a long spell as Sam Allardyce's right-hand man at Bolton.

He added: "I am a North-East lad, I left in 1985 and I still have the strong accent as I go up there on a regular basis. I remember the days in 1979 when I began playing and the old memories of derby battles with Darlington and I have great memories of that.

"There's been some good, positive times of late, especially when Danny Wilson took charge (at Hartlepool).

"Micky Barron is in charge and he got them into a position to beat Tranmere last week and then they lost late on.

"They are not having the rub of the green, it's not down to energy, fitness or quality it's down to belief and it's up to me or whoever the new man is to bring that back to the table.''

Brown has managed two of his new players during his time in charge of Hull. The manager sold centre-half Sam Collins to Pools for £75,000 in 2008, while midfielder Simon Walton was on loan at the KC Stadium from QPR the same year.