Hartlepool chairman Raj Singh admits Paul Hartley was not the club's first choice as manager after defending his sacking of the former Scotland international.

Hartley was axed last week following a winless nine game start to the English League Two season.

The ex-Hearts and Celtic midfielder was only appointed in the summer after a successful time in charge of Cove Rangers.

And Singh has explained why the club recruited the 45-year-old in the first place.

He said: "Paul's appointment came about when Adrian (Bevington, director) made a call to an agent in Scotland to enquire about another manager who had been very successful up there. 

“However, he was told that manager is happy where he is and put Paul Hartley forward.

“At that time, I didn't know anything about Paul Hartley. In fact, I couldn't remember him as a player.

“On Adrian's recommendation, along with Lee Rust (director), the three of us met Paul and following his interview we heard all the right things and decided to appoint him.

“A lot has been made of the fact that we are now onto our fourth manager in a year. It never looks good for a chairman to keep changing managers but what can you do when you’re in a position where we have won one game out of the last 20 including last season?”