Brown linked with a return to Hartlepool United

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VETERAN midfielder Michael Brown could be set for a return to hometown club Hartlepool United, writes Richard Mennear.

The 37-year-old is a combative central midfielder with a wealth of experience, having played for Premier League sides Manchester City, Tottenham and Fulham and Wigan when they were in the top flight.

Brown also enjoyed two spells at Portsmouth and was last season playing Championship football for Leeds United and despite getting on in years is still feeling fit and ready for a new challenge.

It is understood that Pools boss Colin Cooper is looking to entice Brown to Victoria Park ahead of next season’s assault on Sky Bet League Two.

If the midfielder does put pen to paper, it would be for his second spell at Pools.

Brown, who stands at 5ft 7ins, began his career at Manchester City, but joined his home-town club on loan in March 1997 with then manager Mick Tait’s side deep in relegation trouble towards the bottom of the Football League.

Thankfully, Pools won four of their last seven games to pull clear of danger and the on-loan midfielder played a key role – including scoring the first goal in a crucial 2-1 win against Darlington at Feethams.

After returning to his parent club, Brown enjoyed further loan spells at Portsmouth and Sheffield United before signing for the Blades in January 2000 for a fee of £400,000.

He made almost 200 appearances for United before signing for Spurs, then Fulham and Wigan before signing, permanently this time, for Pompey.

Brown – with more than 500 career appearances to his name – enjoyed two seasons on the south coast before putting pen to paper on a deal at Leeds United in the summer of 2011, where he has spent the past three seasons.

But this summer, Brown along with El-Hadji Diouf, Danny Pugh and Luke Varney were among the experienced players culled as United launched a major clear-out at Elland Road.

A player of Brown’s calibre would certainly fit the bill at the Clarence Road club, with Cooper looking to add some much-needed experience to his first team squad as part of plans to revitalise the playing staff.

First team regulars Andy Monkhouse and Simon Walton were both released this summer, with Zak Boagey and Greg Rutherford the other casualties from last season.

It has left Cooper with a small, youthful squad at his disposable and the manager will be keen to add some fresh blood to his ranks over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, midfielder and club captain Antony Sweeney and forward James Poole are still mulling over new contracts offered to them by Pools at the end of the season.