MATTHEW BATES will today be in charge of preparations for Hartlepool United’s next outing.

Following Wednesday’s sacking of Craig Harrison, former centre-half Bates is in caretaker charge.

He had two games in control at the end of last season after Dave Jones was dumped.

Bates spoke with chairwoman Pam Duxbury on Wednesday and he will be assisted by Paul Jenkins. The pair worked under Harrison this season.

After tomorrow’s game, Pools will decide on what comes next.

The club is in no position to entice a new manager because of the perilous nature of their finances.

Wages are due today and will be paid, but Pools are out of money, and fast running out of time.

Whatever process they go through, and the possibility of Bates remaining in charge has not been ruled out, a big upturn in fortunes is needed.

It is understood that Paul Watson, the club’s former head of recruitment, is on his way out of Victoria Park this week and will not have any direct influence on the appointment.

Pools have won only nine times this season and are on the edge of the relegation zone. If they enter administration then a ten-point deduction would drop them into the bottom four.

Bates is the bookies’ favourite, with Lee Clark second in the odds with betvictor.

The former Newcastle and Sunderland midfielder is down to 7/4 from 8/1 after a flurry of bets.

Clark was sacked by Bury earlier this season. He is keen on the Pools job and is understood to have spoken with decision makers at Victoria Park.

Clark’s no-nonsense approach would be welcomed at Victoria Park, where players have greatly underperformed this season.

With experience of management at Huddersfield, Birmingham, Blackpool and Kilmarnock, Clark has managed over 400 games since his playing days came to an end.

He plans to bring former Pools striker Joe Allon back to the club if appointed. Allon, who fired 35 goals as Pools were promoted in 1991, is held in high regard by supporters.

He was part of Dennis Wise’s coaching staff at Leeds United and has been at a number of Pools games in recent months. Clark also watched Pools on Boxing Day at Gateshead.

Meanwhile, it is understood that Ostersunds owner and chairman Daniel Kindberg has distanced himself from getting involved in a potential takeover.

He was at a meeting of possible investors which was held at the Landmark Hotel in Central London yesterday. A Swedish agent is hoping to pull a consortium together and, while Kindberg has been involved in talks, it is unlikely he will get involved in any move to take over at Pools.