KEVIN Phillips has left Hartlepool United - with Pools wasting no time in finding a replacement and appointing Darren Sarll as the new manager.

Phillips did a good job at the Suit Direct Stadium, leading Pools to a mid-table finish after taking charge in January, but a new contract couldn't be agreed between the club and the former Sunderland striker and his exit was confirmed on Saturday morning.

That was swiftly followed by confirmation of Sarll's appointment.

The 41-year-old previously managed Stevenage in League Two and has led Yeovil and Woking to the National League play-offs.

He said: "I'm really excited to get started - the opportunity and challenge at the club is one I'm very much looking forward to. I'm coming here in order to win and we need to close that gap to the play-offs. We won't accept mediocrity, we need to challenge every season and that all starts from the dressing room. I can’t wait to start, creating a strong dressing room is the priority ahead of this pre-season.

“Over the years I have managed visiting teams at the Suit Direct Stadium and I am fully aware of the amazing passion the fans have for the club. The intensity they bring gives us a huge advantage and we must capitalise on this community's passion. I really want to create some lasting memories and be part of what is already an illustrious history. Supporters being proud of their town and team means everything to me.”

On Phillips' exit, chairman Raj Singh said: “Kevin has done a good job this season since coming in as head coach and he’s been great to work with. His remit upon appointment was firstly to make sure that the club retained its current league status and then from there to start looking up towards play-off positions.

“We had a difficult backdrop and precarious league position when the previous manager departed. We believed that Kevin was the right appointment to navigate through things and in the end he has helped comfortably ensure that the club stay away from any relegation concerns, which at one point were lingering.

“We put on record our thanks to Kevin and we all wish him the very best for the next steps in his career. He will always be welcome at Pools.”

Pools say confirmation of new boss Sarll's coaching team will follow in due course.

Andy Steel, club director, said: “We are delighted to have secured Darren to deliver in our quest to get back into the EFL. He presented a very clear and compelling view of how he wants to build the squad, deliver a positive style of football that statistically supports success in this league, and create a winning mentality and culture.

“Critically, Darren also has an in-depth knowledge of the National league and its players as well as first-hand experience of getting teams to play-offs, which were all key criteria for the Board when looking at a managerial appointment to move forward.

“We believe the appointment will help ensure the club is challenging at the top of the league next season. Working alongside Joe Monks and Ronnie Moore, the work with recruitment will start immediately.”