How Craig Hignett proved to be the driving force behind Hartlepool United’s summer recruitment

Padraig Amond training at Maiden Castle
Padraig Amond training at Maiden Castle

Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett has been the driving force behind the club’s summer recruitment in more ways than one.

The Pools boss hasn’t simply relied on selling the club to potential signings over the phone.

Instead, Hignett and his first team coach Curtis Fleming took to the motorway, clocking up the miles to convince the new signings that Victoria Park was the place for them.

Forward Lewis Alessandra was the latest to be won over by Hignett’s enthusiasm, who admits at times he has felt more like a salesman.

But the results speak for themselves with prolific Padraig Amond, central defender Toto Nsiala, attacking midfielder Nicky Deverdics and Alessandra all joining.

“All the signings were our first choices and we went and spoke to them all early to get them in,” said Hignett.

“They are all good players whose ambitions match ours. It’s important as a manager to go out there and see players.

“It’s easy to phone an agent and tell them you want them.

“When you travel to see them it makes a difference and it’s no coincidence that they are all the same type – hungry, ambitious, at a good age with a point to prove.

“I suppose you have to be a salesman at times to get players and I’ve made it sound like it is.

“I feel we have a fantastic club here and it’s changing, something different to before.

“I have options with the squad, I’ve added goals, they are all really good footballers and we are always looking to add to it.

“I’ve got to say the chairman [Gary Coxall] and chief executive [Russ Green] have been brilliant.

“They’ve backed us in everything we’ve tried to do and not tried to influence us in any shape or form.

“The supporters are believing in what we do – I want us all to be together.

“The signs are good and hopefully we can have a good start.

“It’s easy to get carried away, last year they won four and then tailed away.

“Our pre-season is designed to build constantly.”