Hartlepool’s on and off field struggles will make me a better manager - Craig Hignett

Craig Hignett

Craig Hignett

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Craig Hignett has had to deal with more in the last two months at Hartlepool United than most managers in 10 years.

But the former Middlesbrough assistant boss is determined to use Pools’ on and off field struggles to make him a better manager.

I know that later on in life this will stand me in good stead

Hignett was only handed the reins at Pools in February.

It’s been 10 months of scarce highs and some challenging lows. None more challenging than the position the club find themselves in now.

Rumours of unpaid bills and out of pocket players have been batted away by chairman Gary Coxall on social media in recent days.

This talk comes just a matter of weeks after a second winding up order petition for an unpaid tax bill in less than six months.

But it is the on-field problems which have hurt Hignett, who will have no money to spend to strengthen in January, the most.

“My eyes are open - I know exactly what is going on,” the manager said of goings on at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

“From my point of view it is all about experience.

“I know that later on in life this will stand me in good stead.

“It’s tough at the minute, and I’m trying to work my way around it and come out the other end better for it.”

In a matter of weeks Pools have nose-dived down the League Two standings.
From a position of relative strength, in and around the edges of the fourth tier play-offs, Pools now find themselves in an all too familiar cycle.

And while many a fan is now looking over their shoulders at the two relegation spots ominously, Hignett is not at that stage yet.

He said: “We aren’t looking over our shoulders.

“We have had two heavy defeats in the last week and I am hurt by that, so are the players.

“You learn a lot about characters at this time, when times are tough.

“But it is still early on in the season, there is still a long way to go.”

Hignett is aware, though, that a swift turnaround in fortunes will mean his side are in a relegation battle.

After the disappointments of the last two weekends, Hignett believes the trip to Fratton Park will certainly say the most about his players’ commitment to the club.

“Starting on Saturday we want a real positive performance,” he said.

“None of what we do or say matters unless we have a performance at 3pm Saturday. I need people who will turn up this weekend.

“I want the players to show they have pride in what they do. I want players to show they have pride for the football club.

“I have got pride. I am as passionate as the most passionate fan out there. I want this club to win every game.

“There is no reason why we can’t turn it around, but it will take some strong characters around the dressing room.”