Hartlepool United ready to take it to the next level under Craig Hignett

Lewis Hawkins: Great run of form. Picture by FRANK REID

Lewis Hawkins: Great run of form. Picture by FRANK REID

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Hartlepool United’s players “believe” in Craig Hignett’s football doctrine and are ready to take it to the next level.

That was the assessment of Lewis Hawkins who says Pools can be at the right end of League Two next season.

I think we can compete next season We have shown we are getting things together

LEWIS HAWKINS

Pools finished the current campaign 16th, with Hawkins one of the star turns in the team.

“All the lads believe in the way we are playing,” said the 23-year-old, who was one third of an impressive midfield formation alongside Nicky Featherstone and Michael Woods

“If we can keep doing what we have been doing we’ll be a good strong team.

“I think we can compete next season.

“We have shown we are getting things together.”

Hignett declared himself happy with his midfield – and defence – although Woods has still to put pen to paper on a contract extension.

The manager is still looking to bring in new players for the 2016-17 campaign and Hawkins has no qualms about that.

“We’ve got enough quality in our team to be up there battling for good honours, but it will be good to add to the squad,” said the Pools goal of the season winner.

“Every team adds new players and it’s good to have competition for places, it makes everyone play better.

“Hopefully that will help us to have a good season.”

Hawkins award completed an excellent season for the Middlesbrough-born player.

He spent a loan spell with Spennymoor but was recalled by the then boss Ronnie Moore ahead of Pools’ FA Cup date with Championship high-fliers Derby County.

Hawkins was man of the match in the third-round tie but, despite that, found himself on the bench on a couple of occasions under Moore and his successor, Craig Hignett.

But after impressing as a sub at Bristol Rovers, he was restored to the starting XI at Barnet, with devastating results and he has not looked back since.

“I’m very pleased with how it went,” he said.

“I was in and out so it hadn’t quite worked out at that stage.

“But then I got back into the team [at Barnet] and kept my shirt.”

Hawkins paid thanks to his midfield partners, Featherstone and Woods, who he said was a joy to play alongside.

“Feathers and Woodsy are brilliant footballers to have on your team,” he said.

“They have a lot more experience and they really help me on the pitch.”