Hartlepool Utd’s Hignett looks forward to a fully-fit James Poole

James Poole scores second half goal against Billingham Town. Picture by FRANK REID

James Poole scores second half goal against Billingham Town. Picture by FRANK REID

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CRAIG Hignett admits that the return to full fitness of James Poole would be a “major bonus” for Hartlepool United.

The 23-year-old played the full 90 minutes and scored one during last night’s 5-0 demolition of Billingham Town, in which teenager Zak Boagey also grabbed a hat-trick.

Poole returned to pre-season training still carrying a slight problem from the back end of the last campaign.

But Hignett says the striker is now edging towards his true sharpness.

“Poolie is the sort of player who we like, he turns and gets into pockets and makes things happen,” the assistant boss told SportMail having taken care of the young side which faced the non-league outfit.

“When he gets fully fit it will be a major bonus for us.

“We played very well as a team (last night) and used that diamond in the middle to get the best out of Poolie.

“I thought he looked dangerous and did well.

“He’s getting there with his fitness but still has a little way to go yet.”

Trailist Nialle Rodney did not find the target at Bedford Terrace but Hignett felt the frontman did himself no harm.

“Nialle was unlucky that he did not score but he looked sharp and that’s pleasing,” he went on.

“We’ll have to sit down with Nialle and see where we’re going to go, but he did himself no harm last night, he’s getting sharper and quicker and back to what he was like.”

And, of the game, Hignett reflected: “It was important that we had a look at everyone for 90 minutes and it was very pleasing.

“We could have had double the amount of goals and maybe we got a little bit sloppy in the second half.

“But Zak scored three which is great for him and he did well.