Livingston v Hartlepool United: Craig Hignett will mix and match at Almondvale Stadium

Carl Magnay is challenged by Charles N'Zogbia in Wednesday's friendly. Picture by KEVIN BRADY

Carl Magnay is challenged by Charles N'Zogbia in Wednesday's friendly. Picture by KEVIN BRADY

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Craig Hignett will continue to “mix and match” his players as Hartlepool United continue their countdown to the season tomorrow.

Pools have a “test” at Livingston, the Scottish League One outfit, who have played plenty of matches to date.

There are people who are further down the fitness road than others and there are some who need a few extra minutes on the pitch

CRAIG HIGNETT

After starting their programme against non-league Billingham Town and then faced Premier opposition in Sunderland, a trip to Almondvale Stadium looks ideal for Pools.

“I think so,” Hignett told SportMail. “They have been in longer than us in pre-season so it will be a real test, it will be competitive.

“But if we knock the ball about like we can and put an end product in then we’ll be fine.

“I saw a lot on Wednesday night that I’m pleased about.”

Hignett insists fans and pundits should not read too much into who plays where and when for Pools.

All four of his new signings, Lewis Alessandra, Padraig Amond, Nicky Deverdics and Toto Nsiala, started Wednesday’s 3-0 friendly against Sunderland, while three of last season’s key men, Carl Magnay, Billy Paynter and Nathan Thomas were not seen until the second half.

While much of what Hignett does has a method to it, he says his selections are more about getting the right amount of minutes into the players’ legs.

“We’re just mixing and matching at the moment,” he said.

“There are people who are further down the fitness road than others and there are some who need a few extra minutes on the pitch.

“We’re assessing that all the time.”

Hignett made five changes at the interval on Wednesday night, bringing on Adam Bartlett, Lewis Hawkins, Magnay, Paynter and Thomas.

Two players came on 63minutes, three on 69 with Jake Orrell the final sub 15 minutes from time.

Hignett expects a similar approach tomorrow but told SportMail he will field two first teams on Tuesday night at Guisborough Town and Seaham Red Star.

“Livington will be similar to the Sunderland game but on Tuesday I will send teams to Guisborough and Seaham so almost all the players should get 90 minutes that night,” he said.

Livi have not pulled up any trees thus far. drawing two and losing one of their friendlies before being beaten 3-2 at home to St Mirren in the Betfred Cup.

But they did clinch their first victory in some style on Wednesday when they triumphed 3-0 at Edinburgh City, thanks to goals by Josh Mullin, Danny Mullen and Liam Buchanan.