Have these six players given Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett a first-team headache?

Jake Orrell

Jake Orrell

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Wednesday evening was the billed by Craig Hignett as the perfect opportunity for some of his fringe men to step up to the plate.

But did any of them actually manage to plant a seed and cause the gaffer a selection headache ahead of tommorow’s return to League Two action against Cheltenham?

Hignett was not so sure, he said: “After Rochdale they didn’t make me want to pick them.

“I have one or two things to think about.

“Players had a chance in a low-key game, but didn’t take it.”

Well, the manager’s view might have been a touch critical of his players post-match.

But was his assessment fair? Here we take a look at the performance of six of Pools younger stars, as well as one much more experienced campaigner.

James Martin

The gaffer was impressed by the youngsters show.

One of the stand out performers for the reserve side this season it seems only a matter of time before Martin is knocking on the first-team door on a more regular basis.

Although, ahead of this weekend, his inclusion is unlikely.

Hignett said: “James Martin is a great little player, but he’s had a bang and was a bit groggy when he came off. He’s been flying in training,”

Jake Orrell

A player who the manager always mentions whenever talking about the Pools’ forward options.

Clearly the youngster has a big part to play at the Vic in the coming months.

But in the week he had one of his more quiet games.

Describing the performance of Orrell and teammate Brad Walker, Hignett said: “In training Jake has been good, Brad has looked somewhere near his best, but this performances was a bit hit and miss.”

Brad Walker

As mentioned above midfielder Walker has looked somewhere near his best in training.

But he didn’t get close to the heights of a few season’s back against the Dale.

A rangy midfielder, capable of adding goals to the Pools midfielder Walker could be a player who starts to make a first-team impact as we edge towards the festive period.

Seems a little unfair to judge him on that performance, given that he has seen so little football.

Rhys Oates

Of all of the players to be handed a chance it was Oates who is most likely to have planted a seed.

Gave Pools a different option up top with his pace and running in behind.

Who knows, we might see a bit more of the forward tomorrow.

Harly Wise

The latest of Pools signings and a player who is said to have done well behind the scenes.

Hignett said of the central defender: “Harly is a big lad, comfortable on the ball. He is a footballing centre-half, he’s one for the future here to develop and will need to get a bit fitter and needs games, but the potential is there.”

Not build anything like Uncle Dennis Wise, then. Will find a first-team place tough to find, especially with Rob Jones back on the scene.

Billy Paynter

Without doubt one of the deadliest forwards at this level of football, at his very best.

What Paynter can offer is a very different kind of threat to that of Padraig Amond.

Much more physical and a real leader from the front, Paynter adds experience. Wasn’t his best day on Wednesday, but held the ball up expertly at times.