The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE PLAY-OFF FINAL -

GRA­HAM KA­VANAGH is among the favourites to be­come Hartle­pool’s fourth man­ager in just two years af­ter the newly rel­e­gated side ter­mi­nated the con­tract of boss John Hughes.

For­mer Mid­dles­brough young­ster Ka­vanagh is cur­rently as­sis­tant at Carlisle but is out of con­tract this sum­mer and is free to speak to Pools.

An­other ex-Boro player – Colin Cooper – who is an acad­emy coach at the River­side – is also in the frame hav­ing been con­sid­ered by chair­man Ken Hodcroft on a pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sion the post was va­cant.

When Pools’ fate was sealed, Hughes spoke of his in­tent to stay on at the club and spear­head a pro­mo­tion bid, ex­press­ing a de­sire to bring in new faces.

But trans­fers proved a stum­bling block through­out his 177-day ten­ure – he was un­able to bring in any­one in Jan­uary and his only sign­ing was teenage striker Char­lie Wyke on-loan from Mid­dles­brough. When he took over from Neale Cooper in Novem­ber, Pools were at the foot of the ta­ble and in the mid­dle of a 20 game win­less run.

It took Hughes ten games to seal a first win – over Sh­effield United on Boxing Day – but ul­ti­mately Hartle­pool ended the sea­son in 23rd. They did en­joy a seven-match run from late Jan­uary that earned the Scot the man­ager of the month award, but Pools failed to pull clear of the bot­tom four.

As a re­sult Pools cut ties with both Hughes and as­sis­tant Micky Bar­ron, who had two spells as care­taker be­tween the de­par­tures of Mick Wadsworth and then Cooper and who ends a 17year as­so­ci­a­tion with the club.

A club state­ment said: “Hartle­pool United can an­nounce that John Hughes and Micky Bar­ron have been given no­tice of ter­mi­na­tion.

“The Club would like to thank John for all his ef­forts to try and se­cure League One sta­tus since he joined the Club in Novem­ber 2012. We wish him all the very best for the fu­ture.

“We would also like to thank Micky for his com­mit­ment and ef­fort dur­ing his time as as­sis­tant first and re­serve team coach and he also leaves with our very best wishes.”

TAR­GET?: Gra­ham Ka­vanagh

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