Craig Hignett’s ‘let’s not be beaten’ mindset change saw Hartlepool United reap the rewards

Craig Hignett

Craig Hignett

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Craig Hignett concedes he was right to change the Hartlepool United “mindset” to get back on track.

The Pools boss will never sacrifice his attacking principles but he has tempered them following the debacle at Stevenage.

His switch in approach was vindicated on Saturday at Yeovil Town, where Pools won 2-1, thanks to Nathan Thomas’s brace,

And with tough matches up next on successive weekends against Mansfield Town and leaders Plymouth Argyle he will not be changing tactics.

“I decided to change the mindset, it was it for the better,” said Hignett.

“What we were doing looks good and it’s exciting to watch, but if you are conceding two a game you are not going to win many.

“That’s the point we were at.

“The mindset on Saturday was more defensive, let’s not be beaten, let’s be proud of defending, show a bit of desire when we are defending.

“When we approach games like that we seem to do better.

“Last year we set ourselves up to be hard to beat but this season we’ve gone all-out attack.

“We’ve gone out thinking we can score three or four goals which is great confidence.

“But that doesn’t always happen so we went back to what we were doing last year.”

Indeed, last season after Pools were thrashed 4-1 at Bristol Rovers, the side went on a great seven-match unbeaten run, a sequence featuring four clean sheets on the spin.

Hignett would love a repeat, though given the remaining three matches this month are all against teams with promotion aspirations, Mansfield (H), Plymouth (A) and Luton (H), that won’t be easy.

“They are tough games but we go into every match believing we can win it,” he said.

“But we showed at Yeovil, if you can stay in games the more chance you have of nicking them when you have the ability we’ve got.”

Hignett operated a 3-5-2 in the first half at Yeovil and 4-3-3 in the second, with both formations having their desired effect.

An injury to Rob Jones and the withdrawal of his giant centre-half prompted the change, though Hignett may well keep the 4-3-3, especially at home this Saturday.