GALLERY: Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett ponders breaking up winning side

Craig Hignett is facing a major headache ahead of Hartlepool United’s League Two date with Mansfield Town.

Pools are unbeaten in six games so the team should really pick itself.

Craig Hignett applauds the fans at Leyton Orient with Lewis Hawkins (left) and Luke James. Picture by FRANK REID

Craig Hignett applauds the fans at Leyton Orient with Lewis Hawkins (left) and Luke James. Picture by FRANK REID

Indeed, Hignett has sent out the same starting XI for the last four games and has been rewarded with two wins and two draws – all with clean sheets.

But the Pools boss is considering changes to his side. He admitted being awake until 3.30am on Monday as he wrestled with the dilemma before the 2-0 win at Leyton Orient.

And there is likely to be more soul-searching and brain-wracking in the next two days before the Stags come to Victoria Park.

SportMail reported earlier this month of Hignett’s desire to look at members of his squad he has yet to see in competitive action, once Football League security was assured.

We either go with what we’ve got and see how high we can get in the table or I use a real chance to have a good look at the squad

CRAIG HIGNETT

And while Pools are not mathematically safe, it would take a dramatic collapse or a York miracle to see them drop down the table.

So is the time now for the boss to alter his team?

“That’s a decision I have to think about,” said Hignett. “We either go with what we’ve got and see how high we can get in the table or I use a real chance to have a good look at the squad in proper, meaningful games.

“I think while we are on this run and while we have kept four clean sheets then we’ll keep going and see how far we can push it, see if we can go and break records.

“But that’s for me to decide.”

It will be a tough call for Hignett, who says he has been impressed with not just his in-form League Two side but with the quality and attitude displayed by his players who can’t get in the side.

Of Monday’s match-day 18, Adam Bartlett, Rakish Bingham and Rhys Oates have yet to start, though the latter two have come off the bench.

Bingham, Oates and Michael Woods would certainly be entitled to starts should Hignett decide to tinker, as would Josh Laurent, who was a transfer deadline day signing from Brentford, while Scott Harrison made his only appearance in the ill-fated 4-1 drubbing at Bristol Rovers.

Throw the likes of Ebby Nelson-Addy, Kudus Oyenuga and Connor Smith into the reckoning and the manager has more than a few candidates he could send out in the remaining nine fixtures.

Pools have risen to 17th, having been 22nd and uncomfortably close to the drop zone for a number of weeks.

Realistically, 16th would probably be their highest finishing position – Crawley currently hold that spot but Pools are just five points behind them with two games in hand and a better goal difference.