HARTLEPOOL United are hopeful that a managerial appointment will be made this week with the club confirming they were in the latter stages of their recruitment process.

Pools are approaching the fourth week without a man in the dugout with the pre-season schedule set to get underway in June and a trip to Portugal pencilled in later that month where the new boss is expected to get to know his players.

The club have spoken to ex-Sunderland boss Simon Grayson, current Gateshead boss Mike Williamson and Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley about the vacant position. Hartley, a former midfielder for Hearts, was quickly ruled out after speculation he had turned down the job at the Suit Direct Stadium.

Pete Wild was highly considered by the Pools hierarchy but has since gone on to take the manager’s job at fellow League Two side Barrow after leaving Halifax Town following their exit from the National League play-offs.

Elsewhere, former Middlesbrough midfielder Kevin Thomson has been linked with the job with reports suggesting he is set to quit his current role as manager of Scottish side Kelty Hearts to pursue a full-time post in management.

The Northern Echo understands that the club had aimed for the end of May or the beginning of June to complete a managerial appointment following the sacking of Graeme Lee before the final game of the season.

As that timescale approaches, Pools remain hopeful that can still be the case with the process reaching it’s penultimate stage after the club drew up their shortlist of ‘exciting’ candidates last week.

A few weeks ago, the Chairman Raj Singh was looking to decide which direction to go in in terms of what type of manager he picks.

He said: “There are quite a few different managers. For me, there is three different categories of managers that we are looking at. Do you go for an up and coming manager who has had some success and take a gamble on him? Or do you go for somebody in the league below who has been successful? Like we did with Dave Challinor at the time.

“Let’s not forget, a lot of people were against Challinor’s appointment at the time because it was all talk of him having a massive budget at Fylde and he hasn’t had a successful season so why are we taking him on? But that worked out alright.

“The third category for me is tried and tested manager who is looking to prove himself again and has had success previously. All the usual names have been mentioned.

“That’s the big call for me. Which bracket are we going to go for? I’m generally split because whatever I do, you are not going to please anyone and that’s the biggest dilemma for me.

“I’ve got to go with my gut feeling and people around me who are advise me to say which way are we going to go. At the moment, it’s open because this is a big decision so we will see.”

Pools head out to Portugal for a five day training camp on Monday 27th June where they will face Scottish Premier League side Hibernian. 

Before then, Singh toils with making the right decision for the fan but at the time of speaking, he also pointed out: “Whichever manager we go for, we are not going to satisfy everyone. Some the fans will say ‘look let’s go for up and coming manager who has had a load of success’. The other guys will say ‘no, let’s have an experienced manager’. The other fella will reply to that and say ‘well what’s he done recently?’.

“That’s football. It’s all about opinions and it’s all about debates. That’s the hard bit for me, it’s all on my neck! We’ll talk about it amongst ourselves and interview as many people as we can so it’s a good process. Then we will make a decision."

Bromley manager Andy Woodman was heavily linked with the job last year when Pools went on to hire Graeme Lee. However, he has now signed a three-year contract with the National League side following their FA Trophy win at Wembley.

Pools finished last season in 17th place in League Two but are looking to climb further up the league table next season with the club taking it’s time to make a decision on a managerial appointment.