Hartlepool United v Northampton Town: Craig Hignett has ‘nice problem’ over selection

Dan Jones
Dan Jones

Craig Hignett admits he has a selection headache ahead of their big League Two clash with Northampton Town but says it’s a “nice problem” to have.

Hignett told SportMail on Monday it would be hard for him to make any changes to the side which played so well last Saturday at Luton Town.

It shows there has been a reaction and they are getting used to how I want them to play.

CRAIG HIGNETT

But the manager has one or possibly two players available for selection again and adds that the squad has “impressed” him in training at Maiden Castle this week.

Dan Jones (knee) is clear to return, while Hignett hopes Luke James (thigh) will be fit, with Michael Woods (hamstring) his only absentee.

Hignett explained there are several dilemmas for when he sits down to select his match-day squad.

“I’ve loads,” he smiled.

“The lads who played last week did really well and all the players have trained really well this week.

“I’ve been really impressed and they have given me a nice problem. I am pleased.

“It shows there has been a reaction and they are getting used to how I want them to play.

“Training has been really sharp this week.”

Jones had started Hignett’s first two games in charge, ending the 100% attendance record of Jake Carroll in the process.

The Irishman played at Kenilworth Road last week and performed solidly.

James may similarly find it difficult to dislodge any of the advanced players who played at Luton, where Billy Paynter was ‘flanked’ by Jake Gray and Nathan Thomas.

“We will assess Lukey,” said Hignett.

“I think he’s not far off [being fit], but Woodsy won’t make it.

“Dan is all right.

“He wasn’t happy with a little niggle in his knee last Friday when we went down to Luton.

“I just felt it best for him not play at Saturday, give him a rest and see what he is like this week.”

Hignett is likely to give a vote of confidence to last week’s line-up.

While Pools did not gain any reward for a good display, the fact they controlled play for long periods will encourage Hignett.

All six of the most advanced players in action had attempts at goal and were positive going forward.

Pools (probable): Carson, Magnay, Bates, Jackson, Carroll, Featherstone, Walker, Hawkins, Gray, Paynter, Thomas.

Subs (from): Bartlett, Richards, Harrison, Jones, Laurent, Oates, Fenwick, Bingham, James.