Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett to protect ‘fragile’ players for Notts County clash

Michael Woods

Michael Woods

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Craig Hignett is set to rotate his Hartlepool United team yet again to protect the “aches and pains” of his travel-weary squad.

The Pools boss is expected to ring the changes as his team welcome Notts County for tomorrow’s League Two clash (kick off 3pm).

Having selected different sides for each of the games so far this season, Hignett is ready to do the same again to help deal with a hectic fixture schedule.

Wednesday’s draw at Crewe Alexandra saw the Pools boss make three changes from the side that won at Exeter last weeekend.

But Hignett is keen to stress that is down to the depth of the playing squad he has available, with options aplenty all over the field.

The manager is also looking to tailor his squad to their opponents, with Hignett saying he already has a game plan in his mind ahead of the visit of John Sheridan’s men.

And when asked if there would be any changes this weekend, Hignett replied: “I think so.

“It’s the last game in this run and I’ve tried to

protect players who have played a lot and are feeling a bit fragile because the travelling has been tough on them.

“There are a few aches and pains around but with the squad I’ve got I’ve been able to manage that.

“I know how Notts County play and I know what I’m going to do against them.”

The run of games Hignett alludes will see Pools play five games in 14 days, and the manager says squad rotation has been key to keeping his players fresh.

And while the boss says he does have a selection headache, he says it’s a welcome dilemma.

“We’ve had a lot of games at the start of the season and it’s been tough for us, he said.

“I’ve used the squad and I’ve had to use it.

“There’s been a couple of knocks and with the squad I have now I can make sure they’re only missing one game instead of four or five weeks.

“I’ve got players who can come in and make sure the quality won’t drop.

“I have got a selection headache but it’s a good headache.

“We’ve got competition for places which is something we haven’t had.”

Hignett will have no new injury worries ahead of the game and will hope to welcome Rob Jones back in to contention for the visit of County.

The veteran defender was forced off with a head injury at half time in Pools’ 2-1 win at Exeter City last week and missed Tuesday night’s draw at Crewe Alexandra as a result.

The Pools boss has a fully-fit squad to choose from.

Pools Possible XI (4-3-3): Carson; Magnay, Bates, Nsiala, Carroll; Featherstone, Woods, Deverdics; Amond, Paynter, Thomas.

Possible Subs: Bartlett, Alessandra, Hawkins, Laurent, Harrison, Richards, Oates