Hartlepool have appointed Colin Cooper as their new manager following the sacking of John Hughes earlier this month.
Pools were relegated to npower League Two last season and terminated the contracts of Hughes and his assistant Micky Barron on May 9.
Former Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest defender Cooper, 46, becomes the club's sixth permanent manager in the last four and a half years. Craig Hignett has been named as his assistant manager.
A brief statement on the club's official website read: "Hartlepool United are delighted to announce the appointment of Colin Cooper as the club's new first-team manager.
"The 46-year-old will take the reins at Victoria Park immediately and has appointed Craig Hignett as the new assistant/reserve team manager to assist him."
Cooper, who made a total of over 600 appearances during a 20-year playing career, which also included a two-year spell at Millwall, was linked with the previous two managerial vacancies at Victoria Park, but Neale Cooper returned for a second spell as boss in December 2011 and Hughes replaced him in November 2012.
Cooper retired as a player in 2006 and joined the backroom staff at Middlesbrough as reserve-team and then first-team coach.
He was appointed assistant manager in 2009 and took over as caretaker boss following the departure of Gareth Southgate later the same year.
The former centre-back left the Riverside in 2010 and became assistant to Bradford boss Peter Jackson. He also had a spell as caretaker boss at Valley Parade in 2011 before returning to Middlesbrough as a coach.
In keeping with club policy, Hartlepool refused to confirm the length of contracts handed to both Cooper and Hignett.