No Craig Hignett factor at Hartlepool United says Simon Walton

HEAD MAN: Simon Walton in action against Torquay United. Picture by FRANK REID

HEAD MAN: Simon Walton in action against Torquay United. Picture by FRANK REID

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SIMON Walton insists Hartlepool United’s squad will not be put off by Craig Hignett’s departure to Middlesbrough.

The midfielder says Hignett’s departure from Pools had nothing to do with the weekend defeat at Wycombe Wanderers and the squad would “push on” starting with tonight’s crucial trip to Accrington Stanley.

The 26-year-old insists the players are fully focused on the job in hand, adding that managers, coaches and players come and go regularly in football.

Hignett rocked Pools last Monday when he handed in his resignation, in order to take up a number two role at Middlesbrough, where he will assist Aitor Karanka.

But Walton said: “It has been made a bit more than what it actually was, not an awful lot has changed really.

“Obviously we will miss Higgy and we wish him all the best but it had no affect on Saturday, whatsoever.

“We are a close-knit group of players and we have a good set of young lads and old lads and we take each other under our wings.

“We’ll just push on.

“It is football, it happens and you have to deal with those things - it happens quite a lot.”

Walton was speaking ahead of tonight’s Sky Bet League Two match away to third-bottom Accrington Stanley.

But the midfielder says there is no such thing as a “gimme” at this level.

Indeed Craig Beattie’s Stanley side shocked table-toppers Chesterfield at the weekend with a 3-1 home win and confidence will be high as they pulled six points clear of the drop zone.

Walton pointed to Pools’ recent 2-0 defeat at Northampton Town, who were bottom at the time, and said the players are fully aware how tough each match is.

“There is no such thing as a ‘gimme’ in this league,” insisted Walton.

“We have seen that at Northampton when we got turned over - each game is as hard as the next.

“We have to get switched on and recover from the disappointment of Saturday.

“It is no good feeling sorry for ourselves or thinking about ‘what if’, we have to eradicate it and make sure we don’t lose out on what could still be a good season for us.”

One good thing is that Pools have a game so quickly after the disappointing weekend result, with the camp looking to take out some of their frustrations on Stanley.

Walton added: “It is good that we have a game so soon after the weekend.

“We have quite a few games coming up this month and after the frustrations of Saturday hopefully we can take some of that out against Accrington Stanley.

“To put to bed what was a very disappointing day all round.”