Hartlepool United: Stephen Pears appointed assistant manager

Hartlepool United have appointed Stephen Pears as their new assistant manager and goalkeeping coach.

The 52-year-old replaces Craig Hignett, who moved to Middlesbrough in March to become assistant head coach.

Pears worked with current Pools manager Colin Cooper during their time together on the backroom staff at Boro.

"It is not something I've taken lightly, and there have been people who I've spoken to, but I'm delighted," Cooper told BBC Tees.

Former goalkeeper Pears played over 400 games for Middlesbrough during his career before spending his final two seasons with Hartlepool.

Meanwhile, Cooper has been disappointed by the decision of striker James Poole to leave the club after rejecting their latest contract offer.

"I saw an awful lot of talent and that is why I wanted him to stay at the football club," added the 47-year-old.

"I felt I made him a reasonably good offer, but that was his choice and I wish him well.

"I threw James a challenge down at the end of the season because I think for the years that he's been at Hartlepool his numbers and statistics prove that his consistency levels haven't been high enough.

"That does give me an opportunity to bring someone in, and again with all due respect to James, that might be better that what we might have."