Player gong snub can inspire Nathan Thomas says Pools boss

Nathan Thomas
Nathan Thomas

The Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month snub can work as inspiration for Nathan Thomas, according to Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett.

But, in Hignett’s eyes, the winger was still the best player in the division last month, no matter what the so-called experts say.

After five goals in five games, which totalled every goal Hignett’s men scored in September, Thomas was named on a four-man shortlist for the prize alongside Plymouth Argyle’s Sonny Bradley, Portsmouth’s Gary Roberts and Jon Stead of Notts County.

But in-form striker Stead, who also netted five, taking his season tally to nine, was given the gong ahead of talisman Thomas.

And it’s fair to say that Pools manager Hignett is less than impressed with the outcome.

He said: “I’m shocked and bewildered.

“I know Jon Stead has scored the same amount of goals as Nath, but if you look at the type of goals he has scored, and from midfield, I think, no disrespect to Jon, but he should have walked that.

“And he will be disappointed with that.”

All is not lost, though, according to Hignett.

He says Thomas can use the snub as inspiration.

The gaffer added: “I will be saying to him, go out and do that next month and they won’t ignore you.”

Thomas has been a transformed figure at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium this season.

While he was impressive and racked up the assists last season, this time around he has added goals to his game.

Hignett admits Thomas has become a little bit of a project on Pools’ training pitch.

“We have done a lot of work on him,” said the manager.

“The quality he has got he shouldn’t be putting the ball in the back of the stand.

“He shouldn’t be just lashing things. You see him do it from time to time lash things but he is now thinking about it. It is a good thing that he is learning.

“He looks a well polished player now.”

With that work has come the weight of expectation. Well, from the manager at least.

“When he gets in the position, you expect something to happen,” said Hignett.

“Before, you were not quite sure what was going to happen. Now I am expecting him to produce – that is a big plus.

“It’s credit to him for listening.

“We have talked a lot about low finishes, about passing the ball into the net. We have spoken about hitting the target.

“He always tries to put it high into the net, but more often than not they end up in the stand.

“But now, instead of lashing a ball as hard as he can across the goal, he looks to see if he can pick someone out.”