Two ex-Sunderland coaches among potential contenders for Hartlepool United job

Hartlepool United are on the lookout for a new manager and former Sunderland boss Simon Grayson is among the early names linked with the job.
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Former Sunderland coach Robbie Stockdale is also mentioned in some of the early lists of named released by bookmakers as potential candidates for the role.

Grayson was appointed to the Stadium of Light hot seat in the summer of 2017 as the Black Cats targeted an instant return to the Premier League.

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But things didn’t go to plan for the former Leeds United and Blackpool boss, who was sacked in October with Sunderland languishing at the wrong end of the table.

Hartlepool United.Hartlepool United.
Hartlepool United.

Pools need a new manager following the sacking of Graeme Lee.

Meanwhile, former Middlesbrough and Newcastle United defender Jonathan Woodgate has criticised the decision to sack Lee – while also ruling himself out of the running for the vacant job.

Hartlepool United sacked Lee following a ‘significant downturn in results and performances’, the club announced on Thursday night.

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The shock decision came ahead of the final game of the League Two season, Colchester United at home on Saturday, with Pools already safe.

The club has confirmed Michael Nelson and Anthony Sweeney will take the team for the final game at the Suit Direct Stadium on Saturday.

Woodgate, speaking to BBC Tees, has hit out at the ‘ridiculous decision’ to sack Lee and argues he wasn’t given enough time and should have been given more time and support to revamp the squad.

Woodgate said: “I can't understand the decision but that's football.

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“Spike did a good job, he went in there to keep them in the league and he did that.

“In football, first time managerial job for him, and he is given five months and one transfer window.

“What are you supposed to do?

“It is a ridiculous decision, in my view.”

He added: “Why get rid of him so quickly? Give him a chance, you need time.

“They stayed in the league and can rebuild and they are looking at expanding the recruitment department for next season, that's what you need.

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“At least give Graeme a transfer window to build a squad. There will be people who will want the job, that’s for sure. Who knows who will get it?

“That’s football. I think it is a horrific decision.”

And pressed on whether he would be interested in the job, Woodgate replied: “Absolutely no chance, they have just sacked my pal. Why would I do that to my mate. It is not something I would look at, no chance.”

Explaining the decision, a club statement outlined clearly the reasons behind Lee’s sacking: “Since losing to Rotherham United on 9th March, the team has won only one of 11 games, picking up just seven points and scoring eight goals.

“Additionally, previously strong home form has not been maintained with no home win since 15th February, resulting in just three points and only three goals in seven games during this period.”

Pools owner and chairman Raj Singh outlined his reasons – with the board ‘increasingly concerned’ with the form and results.