PHIL Brown is set to be installed as the new manager of Hartlepool United.
The 53-year-old and his proposed backroom team were at Gateshead’s International Stadium last night to see Pools’ reserves in action.
And Brown will be confirmed as successor to Neale Cooper before Saturday’s visit of Coventry City.
Negotiations are ongoing and contracts are yet to be finalised, but developments on that front are expected in the next 24 hours.
That the former Hull City and Preston North End chief was at last night’s second-string game – a 2-1 defeat – signals his intent to hit the ground running.
Brown’s return – he was a fans’ favourite between 1978 and 1985 – will be rapturously welcomed by supporters, who believe he is the man to reverse their club’s faltering fortunes.
He will inherit a side marooned at the foot of League One, six points from second bottom Shrewsbury Town and nine from safety.
Brown will arrive with one overriding instruction from chairman Ken Hodcroft – save the club from relegation.
The South Shields-born boss has beaten off competition from Craig Short, John Hughes and Colin Cooper to land the position.
Brown has been the frontrunner for the job ever since his interest became known.
Since then, Pools have undertaken their standard recruitment process – a shortlist followed by interviews.
Brown has been in the North East throughout that period and watched Pools’ 2-0 defeat to Tranmere Rovers in League One last Wednesday.
Since then, he has spoken of his desire to “get his hands dirty” at his old club and the former full-back appears determined to rebuild what was – during his time in the Premier League with Hull – a reputation as one of the country’s brightest managers.