Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett said that he was happy with the performance of his youngsters despite the 1-0 defeat against Sunderland in the Checkatrade Trophy,
Hignett has been keen to give his young players an opportunity in the revamped competition, with last night’s North East derby tie no different.
James Martin I thought was terrific at left back and Jake Orrell was busy when he came on.
With several first team players rested, it was an opportunity for the Pools manager to experiment with his squad.
James Martin and Ben Pollock were both handed starts against the Premier League side, with Jake Orrell also getting plenty of game time having come off the bench.
And Hignett said that these fringe players have given him plenty to think about after they grasped their opportunity with both hands.
“I learnt I’ve got some very good youngsters,” he said.
“James Martin I thought was terrific at left back and Jake Orrell was busy when he came on.
“Ben Pollock coped really well and I’m happy with the young players.
“But that’s what this competition is for - it’s for the young players to come in and get some experience of playing in a proper game.
“That’s what I want to use it for.”
With several defensive injuries at the moment, Hignett said the performance of Martin could see him thrust into the first team ahead of a crucial run of League Two fixtures.
“I know I could play him,” the Pools boss added.
“He was excellent against Notts County and it’s all about learning for him.
“He’s just come to the football club and he’s trained really well.
“He’s getting better all the time and is a really accomplished footballer.
“People go on about his size but I’m not bothered about that.
“When you see him play like that you know he can cope with whatever comes his way.”