FINANCES and the threat of failing to challenge for promotion have gone a long way to changing the manager at Hartlepool United.

Craig Hignett was sacked on Thursday morning, following the club’s 2-1 defeat at Stockport County on Wednesday evening.

First-team coach Antony Sweeney takes charge of Pools for today’s game at Aldershot, but the long-serving midfielder won’t be considered for the job on a permanent basis.

Coach Ged McNamee has also left, while Ross Turnbull, the goalkeeping coach, will assist Sweeney today.

Pools have a week before their next game, when they take on Brackley in the FA Cup at Victoria Park next Saturday.

By then, chairman Raj Singh will have made his decision who will lead Pools for the rest of the season. Longevity is not something associated with the position at Victoria Park – the next manager will be the 14th in just 11 years.

Singh, who attended a dinner in Durham on Thursday evening to mark the achievements of former Middlesbrough boss Bryan Robson and his Sunderland counterpart Peter Reid, will now turn attentions to a shortlist.

Hignett admitted last week that Singh has put over £1.5m into the club, and the need to get Pools challenging at the top end of the National League and back into the Football League as quickly as possible went a long way in his thought process in replacing Hignett.

The former manager last week admitted: “We have to make it work here. The budget won’t change.

“He’s put over a million and a half in and we need to make it manageable. A cup run to make it even. Until then, I can understand why he is like he is with the club and the finances.’’

Singh appointed Richard Money last December, at a time when then Havant and Waterlooville boss Lee Bradbury was in the running. He’s since been sacked form the club relegated from the National League.

Martin Gray remains under real consideration by Singh. It is understood a manager with experience of success in the division is part of the job description.

Sweeney will pick his team for today, against a team who beat Dover 4-0 in midweek.

He will be without Myles Anderson, whose season has been curtailed by injury.

After missing pre-season, the centre-half returned for the game at Chorley on August 24. He was replaced after 55 minutes after a clash of heads and he has been suffering from concussion symptoms since.

The defender trained briefly in the days after the Chorley game, but since then has been away from the club.

Anderson suffered from long-term concussion during the 2017-18 season. Pools have a strict concussion protocol that they must adhere to before the defender is able to return.