COLIN Cooper has agreed to become the new manager of Hartlepool United and is set to be unveiled this week.
It is understood the 46-year-old shook hands on a deal with the club’s hierarchy over the weekend and will finalise the terms of his arrival over the next 24 hours.
Cooper is understood to have said his goodbyes to his Middlesbrough under-18 squad on Saturday and has the blessing of boss Tony Mowbray to pursue his own career in management.
The former Boro defender will replace John Hughes, who was sacked last week, and will become the club’s fourth manager in less than two years as they prepare for a return to League Two.
Cooper has beaten off competition from Carlisle United assistant Graham Kavanagh for the post.
The former Middlesbrough and Sunderland midfielder was interviewed last week but it is believed he was informed on Friday that he had not been successful.
Cooper had also been in the running to replace Neale Cooper last November before Hughes’s appointment.
He has long since fancied a crack at full-time management having previously taken caretaker charge of both Boro and Bradford City.
Durham-born Cooper made more than 300 appearances during two spells on Teesside and also represented Millwall, Nottingham Forest and Sunderland, where he played in three games on loan in 2004.
Following his retirement in 2006, he took up a role on the Riverside coaching staff before Gordon Strachan released him from the club in 2011.
After a spell as assistant to Peter Jackson at Bradford, he returned to Boro as academy coach in September, 2011.
Should his appointment be confirmed as expected, Cooper’s first task as Pools boss will be to help determine the future of out-of-contract seniors Sam Collins, Ritchie Humphreys and Andy Monkhouse.
He will also have to decide upon a backroom team with both Collins and Humphreys possible candidates for a role following the departure of Micky Barron.
Former Boro and Pools midfielder Craig Hignett is another name which has been mentioned, as has Jamie Clapham, the ex-Ipswich Town defender.
Pools reconvene for pre-season training at the end of next month with plans also in place for their annual trip to Holland in July.