Phil Brown linked with Hartlepool United job

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PHIL Brown today emerged as a shock candidate for the vacant Hartlepool United job – just 16 days after inflicting the final defeat of Mick Wadsworth’s reign at Victoria Park.

Brown was yesterday sacked by Preston North End, who were 1-0 winners at the Vic – the Lancashire club’s only League One victory since September 27.

The 52-year-old former Pools star paid the price for a terrible run of form with the Lilywhites.

Preston started the season in lively fashion, winning seven of their first nine games in league and cup.

But new chairman Peter Ridsdale felt, even though Preston are currently 10th in League One, they are a club on the slide.

Ridsdale said in a club statement: “Phil Brown joined the club in January 2011 with the objective of trying to ensure that we could maintain our status in the Championship division of the Football League.

“Regrettably this did not happen and the club were relegated to League One.

“Following relegation we had hoped that we would be in a position to compete for an immediate return to the Championship.

“But after a promising start we have only won one of our last 11 league games and we are out of all three cup competitions.”

It is believed Brown would like to get straight back into management and the Pools job would interest him.

Brown, from South Shields, began his career at Pools and was a mainstay in defence from 1978-85, either at right-back or centre-half, making 217 appearances and scoring eight goals.

Pools’ caretaker boss Micky Barron, meanwhile, has backed Scott Flinders to bury the anguish of his recent mistakes – but he’ll have to do it without mentor Gary Walsh.

The goalkeeping coach has joined the backroom staff at Hull City where he will link up with former Middlesbrough team-mate and new Tigers boss Nicky Barmby.

His exit has comes at a time when Flinders has suffered a loss of form.

The Pools No.1 was at fault for Brentford’s first during Saturday’s 2-1 defeat – a weak lob escaping his grasp – and he was also disappointed with the concession of the only goal during the defeat to Yeovil Town last month.

Those mistakes came on the back of Flinders’ unfortunate sending off in the FA Cup tie against Stevenage.

The usually-reliable netminder has apologised to his colleagues for his recent errors, and caretaker Pools chief Barron believes the Yorkshireman has what it takes to bounce back.

“Scott has been brilliant, but of late he’s made a couple of mistakes and we have to speak to him about it,” he said ahead of Saturday’s visit of Colchester United.

“He was disappointed with the first goal at the weekend, but it was a genuine mistake and the ball has gone through his hands.

“He was distraught in the dressing room on Saturday but these things happen, it’s all about how you come back.

“He’s held his hands up for one or two mistakes in recent weeks but during that time he’s still been making some unbelievable saves

“Hopefully the mistake against Brentford is his last one and we see the top goalkeeper that he is in the coming matches.”

Flinders did, in fact, redeem himself within minutes of his blunder against the Bees when he saved Gary Alexander’s penalty-kick, only for the striker to tuck home the rebound.