Craig Harrison: Hartlepool appoint The New Saints boss as manager

Craig Harrison
Craig Harrison played for Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace

Hartlepool United have appointed The New Saints boss Craig Harrison to the vacant managerial post, following their relegation to the National League.

Harrison, 39, has left the Welsh Premier League club after winning a sixth consecutive league title and winning the manager of the year award.

Gateshead-born Harrison played for Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough before injury ended his professional career.

Chief executive Pam Duxbury said: "I'm looking forward to working with Craig."

She added: "He knows what it takes to succeed and is determined to bring his winning formula to our club and get us back to where we belong in the Football League.

Scott Ruscoe will take on interim coaching responsibilities at The New Saints, who agreed to release Harrison for the role, and will be assisted by Steve Evans.

After initially taking up a coaching role at Airbus UK Broughton, Harrison then joined TNS and began a period of dominance over his five years in charge.

In addition to winning six championships, four Welsh Cups and three League Cups, earlier this season they broke Ajax's 44-year-old world record for the longest winning streak in top-flight football with 27 victories in a row in all competitions.

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The New Saints: Behind the scenes at the Welsh Premier League record breakers

Stopping the rot

Harrison comes into a club relegated from the Football League for the first time this season, and under a new era of governance at the top.

Chairman Gary Coxhall stood down from the role with a game to go to leave Duxbury in charge of his responsibilities.

The main task for Harrison will be to arrest the decline which has seen Pools tumble from mid-table in League One in 2012 to the non-league in 2017.

After the appointments of Craig Hignett and Dave Jones did not work, Harrison will face the challenge of building a team capable of challenging to regain their league status.

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