HARTLEPOOL United are narrowing in on a managerial appointment with the club drawing up an ‘exciting shortlist’ of candidates. However, Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley is not on that list and is no longer being considered for the role after initial talks.

Pools have been without a manager for the last three weeks since Graeme Lee’s sacking before the final game of the season with the club’s hierarchy looking for a manager to orchestrate at charge up the League Two table for next season.

The club have held talks with a number of candidates including ex-Sunderland and Leeds United manager Simon Grayson, current Gateshead manager Mike Williamson while the club have declared an interest in Halifax Town boss Pete Wild.

After three weeks of searching for a new boss, initial conversations with managers have been held for the job and the club are hopeful of securing an appointment in the near future ahead of pre-season.

The club posted on their official social media accounts: “The club would like to update supporters on the ongoing search for a new manager. We are pleased to now have an exciting shortlist following our first stage of conversations and hope to make an announcement soon.”

Senior sources suggest Paul Hartley is now not being considered for the role after initial talks with the club. The former Hearts midfielder recent guided part-time outfit Cove Rangers to the Scottish Championship and has held preliminary talks to the club.

However, following reports elsewhere that Hartley had turned down the chance to manage at the Suit Direct Stadium, the club have been quick to debunk that speculation and have expressed disappointment that reports of their initial conversations had been leaked. He has been ruled out of being any part of any potential hiring process with Pools now able to draw up their ‘exciting shortlist’ of candidates.

They added as part of their statement: “The club are disappointed some initial conversations were leaked to the press but we will continue to work diligently following a defined process to appoint our next manager.”

Wild is another name that is currently being considered by the Pools hierarchy and following Halifax’s defeat in the National League play-offs to Chesterfield last night, he would be free to pursue any potential moves away from Shay Stadium.

However, he is being heavily linked with a move to take the vacant managerial job at fellow League Two side Barrow. While their top target has not been identified, the Cumbrian club did release a statement nine days ago which said ‘an approach was made to his current club to ask permission to speak to him regarding our vacancy and agree appropriate compensation’.

Grayson, who has spent time in the North-East previously after a short spell with the Black Cats, has been out of a job since October last year after he was relieved of his duties at Fleetwood Town.

Pools have expressed a level of understanding at the time it's taken to recruit Lee's replacement and are also pleading with supporters for patience and are hopeful of making an appointment to give the manager ample time to put together plans for the pre-season schedule.

The club are also looking to negotiate contracts with several players who see their deals run it’s course next month. They have offered fresh terms to Luke Molyneux and Timi Odusina who have both been attracting interest elsewhere while Gary Liddle, Mark Shelton and Jordan Cook have also been offered new deals.