Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett tasks players to look up, not down

Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett
Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett
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Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett has tasked his squad with looking up rather than down.

Prior to Saturday’s long-awaited first home win of the campaign over Cheltenham, Pools had slid to within one point and two places of the League Two trap door.

But the victory, which came courtesy of goals from Lewis Alessandra and Matthew Bates, has seen them climb to 15th place in the fourth tier table.

And as things stand they are sitting just three points from those in the bottom two spots, as well as just three away from the top seven.

Hignett believes this could be Pools turning point this campaign.

He thinks a little run of results now, prior to the hectic Christmas period, could pay dividends for Pools’ season overall.

“We are three points off the play-offs. It’s time to react, one win and you are in the play-offs,” said Hignett.

“But one defeat and you are at the bottom.

“It’s about putting a run together and I don’t want to fall below that.

“We have played better than we did against Cheltenham and lost games.

“Now we understand why we lose games and how to go about seeing them out.”

Hignett thinks with that win Pools have set a benchmark in terms of performance.

Not only that, they’ve found out how to keep clean sheets again.

Although that is down, in no small part, to the involvement of match-winner Bates.

The gaffer continued: “The win was important, a clean sheet too.

“Batesy has played two games, two clean sheets in a week.

“We were really good all over the pitch, it’s not often you can watch a game and feel comfortable and I felt we could add to it.

“Discount the Mickey Mouse Cup on Wednesday and it’s two really good, solid performances in a week.

“The aim is to keep going, win as many as we can.”

One of the biggest criticisms of Pools this season has been their ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Hignett has some sympathies with his players on that front, especially due to a number of poor refereeing decisions this season.

But he is glad they showed some resolve to come through any moments of adversity, even Trevor Carson’s injury, to make sure they bagged their first home win at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium since April.

“I said at half-time to the lads that if we scored again I didn’t want anyone getting sent-off like at Barnet,” Hignett said.

“I didn’t care if they scored but don’t get sent-off and don’t lose this game. I said to them after Barnet that if they could find a way of losing a game they would.