THE process of finding the next Hartlepool United manager is well underway.

Craig Hignett, the club’s caretaker manager and director of football, is taking training this morning in between conducting interviews with candidates who want to replace Matthew Bates at the club.

Speaking at the club’s East Durham College training base this morning, Hignett said: “We are right in the middle of it – speaking to candidates, taking our time, do our due diligence and get the right man in place.

“We have a shortlist, interviews are taking place and then we go away and find out as much information as we can about them to make sure we are making an informed decision.’’

Havant and Waterloo boss Lee Bradbury is the bookmaker’s favourite for the post – he is odds on at 1/2 with betvictor and the second next, Lee Clark, is 4/1 – and it has been reported his club granted permission for Pools to speak with the former Man City striker, with a first interview already taken place. 

Hignett admitted: “He is someone who has done really well at his club and in his managerial career, he ticks a lot of boxes and we want to speak to as many as we can and he would be one we are interested in.’’

Pools have had around 100 candidates for the post, with the applications being whittled down by chief executive Mark Maguire before Hignett and chairman Raj Singh work on the recruitment.

“The process is what we expect – I’ve been in enough interviews to know what to expect and we are doing this a little different,’’ admitted Hignett.

“We have a structure that someone has to fit into at our club and we have a set structure for someone to come in – the manager has to fit our infrastructure and system. From that point of view we are quite specific in what we want.’’