CRAIG HIGNETT has been sacked as Hartlepool United manager.

It is understood that the manager was informed by chief executive Mark Maguire this morning that his services were no longer required after the decision was taken by chairman Raj Singh.

Pools lost at Stockport County on Wednesday evening in a game televised live on BT Sport, a result which leaves them 16th in the National League with five wins from 16 games this season.

They are at Aldershot on Saturday and Tony Sweeney will take temporary charge. Sweeney has been one of Hignett’s coaches this season.

Ged McNamee, the first-team coach, has also left the club.

Hignett has had two spells in charge of the club, the first ending in the sack in January 2017.

A club statement read: "A more detailed statement will follow this afternoon but suffice to say this incredibly difficult decision has been made with a heavy heart, as both men have worked tirelessly for the Club in the last eighteen months."

Hignett returned to Pools when Singh, a close friend of the former boss, bought the club and took control.

Appointed director of football, Hignett helped stabilise the club with Singh after a traumatic time on and off the pitch.

After the short-lived tenure of Richard Money, Hignett was appointed boss in January this year. He won 11 games of his 31 in charge, drawing 10 and losing 10. 

Martin Gray, the former Darlington boss, will be among the contenders for the post.