Craig Hignett reveals which Hartlepool United striker has staked a first-team claim in Checkatrade loss

Rhys Oates.
Rhys Oates.
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Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett says striker Rhys Oates has furthered his first team claim, despite Pools loss to Rochdale.

In fact, the gaffer picked the young frontman, recently returned from a loan spell at Conference Gateshead, as one of very few positives from this evening's 2-1 Checkatrade Trophy defeat at the Nothern Gas & Power Stadium.

Hignett said: "He has done really well.

"He did more in 20 minutes than they rest did in the whole game.

"He did himself the world of good."

Pre-match Hignett had tasked many of his fringe men to stand up and be counted.

He wanted those who have been in and around the first-team to stake a claim and give him headaches ahead of this weekend's return to League Two action v Cheltenham.

But he was left disappointed.

"I thought it was poor. It was a good chance for the fringe players to give me a decision to make on Saturday," Hignett explained.

"We didn't start anywhere near where we should.

"It was not as good as we were in training.

"It was frustrating. Maybe it was because we are are already out but as a pro you cant do that. I was disappointed."