Hartlepool make Craig Harrison their new manager

Craig Harrison

Craig Harrison

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Hartlepool United have appointed Craig Harrison as their new manager.

Pools, relegated earlier this month after 96 years in the Football League, had been without a boss since Dave Jones was sacked two games from the end of the season following a disastrous run.

Harrison becomes the sixth manager inside the last four years and will be charged with the responsibility of bringing Pools back from the National League at the first attempt.

The former Middlesbrough defender has enjoyed a trophy-laden start to his coaching career in Wales with The New Saints after being forced to quit the game as a player after a horrific leg break while at Crystal Palace.

The 39-year-old led the club to six successive Welsh Premier League titles and six cups, and managed TNS in Champions League qualifiers as well.

Harrison was short listed for the Gateshead job last season. After missing out on that job at his hometown club, he guided Saints to another championship this term, setting a new world record for successive top-flight wins in the process, with the 27 victories beating Ajax’s 44-year landmark.

He will now be tasked with guiding Pools back into the Football League after their painful relegation. Pools had completed this season with experienced defender Matthew Bates in charge. The former Middlesbrough star, assisted by Billy Paynter, Stuart Parnaby and Ian Gallagher, won one of the two games in charge and came within minutes of keeping Pools up, only to be sunk by a late, late Newport winner over Notts County.

Chairwoman Pam Duxbury, speaking to a public meeting of the Hartlepool United Supporters Trust last night, said Pools had received over 50 applications for the post.