HARTLEPOOL UNITED still appear to be some distance from securing a new manager.

A month after Dave Jones was dumped and two weeks since the season ended, Pools are still seeking the man to lead them next season in the National League.

Chair and chief executive Pam Duxbury has been interviewing candidates over the last ten days, along with the club’s head of recruitment.

Loading article content

And both Duxbury and Paul Watson have now enlisted the assistance of the League Managers’ Association to try and attract more candidates.

Sam Collins, the club’s former skipper, under-21s coach and assistant manager, remains top of the betting for the job and he has been interviewed at length, but that was early last week.

Gary Brabin had a four-hour interview this week, while a number of other candidates have been spoken to, without being selected.

It is understood there has been a positive response to the LMA message and a fresh round of interviews and talks are planned with both new and current candidates.

A statement from Duxbury read: "This appointment is so crucial for the future of the football club and it is therefore important that we take the appropriate time to ensure we get it right.

"We have received many applications for the role as you would expect and, after speaking to the LMA, we also formally advertised, which has helped draw even more interest.

"We have had a panel of people working on the shortlist and we anticipate carrying out final interviews in the early part of next week with an announcement to follow as soon as possible.

"Once we have the right man in place, we will quickly move forward with our recruitment plans because it is essential to build a squad that fans can be proud of and one that can help us bounce back in to the EFL at the earliest opportunity.''

Richard Barker, the club’s former striker, has been linked with the position despite recently taking on a job as No 2 at Rotherham United. Mark Venus, another former Pools player and Middlesbrough assistant boss who hails from the town, however, can be discounted from the running.

Kevin Cooper, the club's assistant manager under Jones, is well thought of by Duxbury and Watson. Appointing him, however, would be an utter disaster from a public relations point of view. 

Watson appointed Jones in January as Craig Hignett’s replacement with a remit to find a strong manager who could revamp the club on and off the pitch.

The appointment failed miserably and the club cannot afford to get this one wrong.

Watson came to the club under former chairman Gary Coxall, who stood down from his position before the final game of the season.

Coxall came to the club in the summer of 2015 as part of JPNG when they took control from Ken Hodcroft and IOR Ltd. The JPNG company phone lines have not been working of late, while the former chairman deleted his once-prolific Twitter account.

Their website remains active and lists a handful of positions, mainly based in the Middle East.

Coxall still owns half the club, with Duxbury and Sage Investments also part owners. It is understood Coxall, who has been renting a home in Hartlepool ironically on the former site of West Hartlepool Rugby Club, another town sporting institution which suffered and fell from the professional ranks, is seeking £600,000 for his shares in the club.