Craig Hignett has faith in his Hartlepool United squad despite Stevenage humiliation

Toto Nsiala: Back in the squad for tomorrow's trip to Yeovil. Picture: Frank Reid
Toto Nsiala: Back in the squad for tomorrow's trip to Yeovil. Picture: Frank Reid

Craig Hignett insists he still believes in Hartlepool United’s players – but they must now believe in themselves.

The Pools boss says his hopes for the team and club have not been affected, despite the Stevenage debacle.

I certainly think I have a squad here that can cope with the top half, maybe the top seven. But they have to believe that as well

CRAIG HIGNETT

Pools go to Yeovil Town tomorrow on the back of a 6-1 thrashing at a side who were, seemingly, out of touch.

Hignett is looking to his players to start showing the form he knows they are capable of – beginning with tomorrow’s League Two match at Huish Park (kick-off 3pm).

“One result won’t knock me,” said Hignett who will welcome back Toto Nsiala from suspension and Rob Jones from injury.

“I would have liked to have won more so far this season and there’s games we could have won which we haven’t.

“It’s not been a disastrous start, but a result like that which we didn’t see coming is tough to take.

“I certainly think I have a squad here that can cope with the top half, maybe the top seven. But they have to believe that as well.

“They have to do things properly and be professional, not just expecting to go out and win

a game without thinking about it.

“Too many will just play and see what happens.”

Hignett told SportMail that he had learned a lot about himself in the aftermath of the events at Broadhall Way.

But he explained that he has also sussed out the character of all his players.

Those with deficiencies he says he will help but those who will not meet him at least halfway could face an early exit from the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

“I know everyone’s character in the side,” he said.

“I know who will play well when the team is playing well and I know who will hide when we aren’t.

“That’s something I’ll look to improve, change the mentality – talk to them, help them with their mindset.

“But if I can’t I can’t ...

“No disrespect but that’s maybe why some of the lads are playing in League Two.

“You can see the ability they’ve got and they should be playing higher, but they are not and there is obviously a reason why.

“Whether that’s down to mentality, desire or being happy being here with no pressure, I don’t know.

“But I won’t put up with that. I said this season I was expecting more from them.

“I am not mollycodling people this season, I want to step on – training is more intense and what I’m asking them to do is more demanding.

“Some people may crumble with that and some people won’t, that’s what I’m finding out at the moment.”

Another ‘effort’ like last Saturday and some players may find their days numbered.

Hignett, as frank as always, will be expecting a reaction – and a very strong one – following last Saturday’s embarrassment.

“You do find more about the true character of someone after a defeat,” he said.

“You see the people who keep wanting the ball and don’t hide and you see the ones who are quick to get rid of it.

“You see it, it’s clear as day, I’ve learned a lot last week, I’ve learned a lot about myself.”