Hignett urges Pools to get ruthless in ‘derby’ against relegation-threatened York City

Pools boss Craig Hignett (right) suffers in Tuesday's defeat at Notts County. Picture by Frank Reid

Pools boss Craig Hignett (right) suffers in Tuesday's defeat at Notts County. Picture by Frank Reid

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Craig Hignett wants Hartlepool United to be “ruthless” and not “rushed” in Saturday’s League Two ‘derby’ clash with York City.

Pools play host to the Minstermen on the back of a 1-0 defeat at Notts County in midweek.

The last two Tuesdays have been characterised by heavy amounts of possession but no goals.

In between, Pools ran riot at Morecambe, winning 5-2, the first time the club have gone nap in the league in 10 years.

Hignett has been pleased with all three performances but wants his players to stick to what they do best: playing football.

“Some of the stuff in and around the penalty area in the first half was some of the best interplay and movement I have seen since I came to the club,” he said.

“But, long straight long balls?

“That [in the second half] was not us. That’s not how we are going to get in.

“We were ruthless at Morecambe but felt we were a bit rushed at Notts County.

“I’ve said to the players ‘just keep the ball, don’t be embarrassed to have it for ages’.

“I want us to do the right things.”

Hignett admits Pools missed that bit of sharpness at Meadow Lane, County had it in the shape of former Sunderland striker Jon Stead, who was the evening’s only scorer.

He wants his players to keep the “attacking” philosophy but find that last piece of the jigsaw against relegation-threatened York.

“You need goals to win games,” he said. “I’m an attacking type of manager. I like to attack – I want my players to go forward and express themselves.

“That final little bit, we weren’t ruthless enough.”

Hignett is pleased to be back at home this weekend following three away matches in a row, though he still has the team’s final two journeys to promotion contenders in the back of his mind.

But the manager wants to get as many points as possible in the last five games.

“We’ve done a lot of travelling and it’s been a pain, to be honest,” he said.

“We have back-to-back home games, which is good, but we still have some big ‘uns away, Oxford and Plymouth.

“It’s nice to be back at the Vic for our derby.

“The fans will want to see a good performance and see us win, just like I will.

“The season is not over, I am looking for performances and wins.”

Hignett hopes to have Matthew Bates, Jake Carroll and Nathan Thomas all available after they missed the midweek defeat, only their second loss in nine matches.