Hartlepool United-Mansfield Town: First home win vital says Craig Hignett

Nathan Thomas scores his stunning winner at Yeovil. Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com.

Nathan Thomas scores his stunning winner at Yeovil. Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com.

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Hartlepool United have done it away and now they hope to do it at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium – win.

Pools are one of five League Two clubs still to register a victory in front of their own fans.

We have to make sure our home form is spot on and we need to make this a tough place so teams don’t like coming here

CRAIG HIGNETT

A look at the away table makes pretty good reading – Pools lie second to Leyton Orient after picking up seven points from a possible 12.

But Craig Hignett says Pools are determined to break the spell tomorrow against Mansfield Town at the Vic (kick-off 3pm).

“If we are going to do anything this season we need to win at home,” said Hignett.

“We have to make sure our home form is spot on and we need to make this a tough place so teams don’t like coming here.

“You only do that by getting results.”

Pools have not won on home territory since they beat York City 2-1 in mid-April.

Hignett said no panic buttons are being pressed at the moment – only the 2-1 defeat to Notts County has been a disappointing display.

In the other two fixtures, against Colchester and Newport, Pools came from behind to claim a point.

“We’ve had a couple of games we should have won at home, which ended in draws and then that disappointing loss to Notts County,” said Hignett.

“We should have won last time out to Newport, which was two points thrown away.

“But we are doing all right, we are not badly placed in the league.

“We are only a win off a play-off spot, that shows how tight the division is.”

It won’t be easy given the Stags, like Pools, look very handy on their travels and they too go all the way to the final whistle, having won very late at Orient and Newport.

“Mansfield are similar to us, with some good wins, Leyton Orient away being one, but some losses you wouldn’t expect.

“The league is tight, you can beat anyone on the day.”

Hignett faces a few tough selection decisions, again, ahead of tomorrow’s 14th v 10th battle.

Last week, he named Lewis Alessandra and Billy Paynter as subs, though Alessandra came on and impressed after Pools switched from a 3-5-2 system to a 4-3-3.

The summer signing from Rochdale therefore looks an almost certain starter tomorrow.

“Lewie made a big difference,” said Hignett. “He’s a clever footballer.

“It’s a problem that if I play with three at the back one of the strikers misses out.

“Last week it was a straight choice between Billy and Podge and a choice between Lewie and Nath.

“As it was, Billy’s been struggling a bit with his calf, that’s why he didn’t warm up, he just sat on the bench.

“On the morning he felt his calf stiffen up and I didn’t feel we should take a risk.

“With Nath and Lewie, Nath scored the week before and he’s a bit of a streak player.

“We put him in and it was the right decision.

“Lewie had played all the games, he even started the Checkatrade Trophy, so may be a rest did him good. It’s a tough league.”

Pools (probable): Carson; Magnay Nsiala, Harrison, Donnelly; Featherstone, Laurent, Hawkins; Alessandra, Amond, Thomas

Subs (from): Bartlett, Richards, Jones, Carroll, Deverdics, Woods, Paynter, Heardman, Fewster