Hartlepool boss: We have class to beat Northampton

Jake Gray

Jake Gray

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Craig Hignitt says Hartlepool United’s Victoria Park showdown with League Two’s invincibles Northampton Town is not a mission impossible.

Not many neutrals would give Hignett’s side a prayer tomorrow against a Cobblers team who have reeled off 10 wins in a row and who are 46 points better off than Pools.

They have got one or two areas we can exploit.

Hignett has identified “one or two areas” Pools can “exploit” in tomorrow’s match against the runaway league leaders.

“It will be difficult but we have the quality here to cause them problems,” he told SportMail.

“If we do what we’ve been practising this week in training then I think we will trouble them.

“They have got one or two areas we can exploit and we’ll be looking to do that.”

Hignett insists Pools must not fear Chris Wilder’s side, despite their amazing run of form.

“It’s exciting, not daunting,” said the 46-year-old.

“Northampton are on a great run and Chris Wilder has done a fantastic job.

“They have a really good group of players who know what they are doing and are in a winning mentality.

“Northampton are in a groove of winning – it will be a difficult game, there is no doubt about it.

“There’s nothing to be scared of in this league if I’m honest – people play at this level for a reason.

“Consistency is the key and Northampton have that, they have a real solid look about them, they know what they are doing.

“But there’s nothing to fear in this league, anyone on their day can beat anyone.”

Northampton have kept six clean sheets in their 10-match sequence but they did concede on Tuesday night at York, albeit near the death when the points were already in the bag.

Hignett was at Bootham Crescent and was impressed by what he saw.

However, Pools cannot afford to repeat the mistakes the Minstermen made – James Collins and John Marquis were both totally unmarked when they scored the Town goals.

“Northampton had quite a few chances to score,” he said. “Their movement was good, they interchange positions really well and their wide men don’t stay wide, they drift about.

“It’s about how we deal with it and how you stop them.

“But you can’t allow free crosses into the box and you can’t let the likes of Marquis and Collins go unmarked.

“If you leave them free, they’ll score goals.

“But I did see bits of play which we can exploit.”

While the Cobblers squad is brimming with confidence, Pools are not totally devoid of the commodity, despite their league position and the fact they have lost back-to-back games.

Pools produced some good football at Luton Town last week following their previous performance against Notts County when they had a hatful of chances.

At Kenilworth Road, all six of the most advanced players had opportunities.

Billy Paynter led the attack well with Nathan Thomas and Jake Gray positive in taking on the opposition defence – they will be key men tomorrow.

The midfield trio of Nicky Featherstone, Lewis Hawkins and Brad Walker all had shots too.

“Apart from the first half of the Notts County game, we’re playing well,” said Hignett. “Certainly Saturday we were very good.

“Performance-wise I’ve been really pleased with what I’ve seen.”