Pools boss denies using foul language to official

Craig Hignett heads to the stands
Craig Hignett heads to the stands

Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett has lifted the lid on the incident which saw him sent to the stands for the second time this campaign.

And he has called the decision to punish a tackle on Pools’ Michael Woods as baffling.

Woodsy was stamped on, a nasty one. 100% clear.

The manager was given his marching orders by referee Darren Handley for using foul or abusive language towards an official.

But Hignett says his words were not meant for the officials, they were meant for the accused, Port Vale defender Kiko.

The manager has described the decision not to sanction the player, and instead send him off, as an embarrassment.

“It’s embarrassing,” he said. “They said I swore at him when I swore at their left back who stamped on my player. I’m baffled.

“Woodsy was stamped on, a nasty one. 100% clear.

“How the linesman can’t see it and he said he wasn’t looking at it. There’s an incident so look at it.

“I exchanged words with him and then the player. The linesman said it was to him. How he says I can say it to him in a threatening manner when I wasn’t even looking at him or him at me?”

It was not only a tough day for the manager, the majority of his players felt the heat, too.

One player in particular who took some stick was Toto Nsiala.

The big central defender was switched to right-back by Hignett for the clash, having played the whole of this season to date either in a central two or three.

And it’s fair to see he had a difficult time.

Hignett, though, justified the call to put the DR Congo international ‘out of position’.

“Toto played right back for Grimsby,” he said. “I felt we wanted three decent big ones there as I felt their set-pieces were important.

“We let it happen today, it didn’t work for us. But it wasn’t that he can’t play there.”

Meanwhile, Rob Jones left the Vale Park pitch on a stretcher yesterday after going down awkwardly.

He will be assessed by the club’s medical staff to see whether he will be available for next weekend’s clash with Cambridge United. The gaffer said: “We’ll assess him and take it from there.”