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Next Hartlepool Manager Odds: Who will they turn to after losing Dave Challinor to Stockport?

Sackrace

It started off as an almost laughable rumour, something that was initially brushed aside as merely speculation. The bookies’ had got it wrong.

But then on Monday night reality hit in the most brutal way when Hartlepool released a club statement in which they informed their fans that their promotion-winning manager, Dave Challinor, wanted to leave the club.

Not only did he want to leave, he wanted to drop back down into the National League to take charge of his former club Stockport, who last week sacked Simon Rusk after nine months in charge.

It’s a real blow to Hartlepool, not only because Challinor has done an excellent job in spearheading the club back into League Two, but he’s since enjoyed a bright start as a Football League manager - 10th in the table but level on points with 6th-placed Leyton Orient - while he only recently penned a brand new three-year deal at the club.

Hartlepool have been angered by how Stockport have handled everything. The initial approach for Challinor didn’t come directly to the club, while they subsequently declined a request over the weekend.

But then after speaking to Challinor on Monday - who “verbally notified us of his intention to leave” - Hartlepool want to move forward and find a manager who is “100% committed to the job”. It’s not yet known if they will take legal action.

You can read the full statement right here.

Next Hartlepool manager odds

So, where do Hartlepool go from here?

The club have placed coach and former captain Antony Sweeney in interim charge at Victoria Park. Sweeney, the early 2/1 favourite for the full-time job, will instantly be placed under the spotlight for tonight’s EFL Trophy clash against Everton U21s.

Sweeney, 38, amassed over 400 appearances for the club over the course of 13 years. Between 2016 and 2019 he worked as an academy coach and has been first team coach since 2019. Two years ago the UEFA A Licence qualified coach oversaw the senior side for six games on a caretaker basis - he won four, drew one, and lost one - in between the spells of Craig Hignett and Challinor. 

Clint Hill, 25/1, has only just joined the club's management team, but if Hartlepool appoint from within it’s likely to be Sweeney.

A small positive is Hartlepool are well-placed in the league. This isn’t a club that is struggling towards the bottom of the table after enduring a terrible start to the season, instead they have a healthy points tally (23) and seven wins on the board from 15 matches, meaning there's likely to be some real interest in the post.

There are plenty of experienced managers knocking about at the moment, from the recently available Nigel Adkins (12/1), to Paul Tisdale (20/1), Phil Brown and Ian Holloway (both 25/1).

Keith Hill, 8/1, l has been linked with Carlisle and Scunthorpe in recent weeks and it’s no surprise to see him enter another League Two managerial market. Hill has plenty of experience at this level, twice leading Rochdale into League One, while his Tranmere side finished 7th last season before his acrimonious departure before the play-offs.

Former Middlesbrough and Bournemouth boss Jonathan Woodgate is priced at 10/1, 12/1 shot Chris Beech is available after leaving Carlisle, with Graham Coughlan and John McGreal both hovering around the 14/1 mark.

Hartlepool could look to dip into the non-league managerial pool. Luke Garrard has enjoyed a superb start to the season with National League pacesetters Boreham Wood, whereas talented young coach Nathan Rooney (25/1) has caught the eye at Colne.

Perhaps Richie Barker is worth a peek at 25/1. The former Hartlepool player who has been working as assistant manager to Paul Warne at Rotherham for the past four years, and has managerial experience from spells at Portsmouth, Bury and Crawley, as well as assistant roles at Charlton and MK Dons.

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