Young striker in Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett’s thoughts

Rhys Oates

Rhys Oates

1
Have your say

Young striker Rhys Oates is very much in the thoughts of Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett.

The 21-year-old has only made one appearance for the club so far, having been sent out on loan to Gateshead for the opening few games of the campaign.

But that does not mean that Hignett has forgotten about the pacey frontman, who managed to net in that late cameo against Rochdale last week in the Checkatrade Trophy.

In fact, Hignett says Oates is earning his chance by doing the business for the reserves and on the training pitch.

“He has done well in the reserves,” said Hignett.

“Last week he did more in 20 minutes than a few did.

“He has done himself the world of good in recent weeks.

“Last week was a chance for him to come in and show me he is worth a place in the team. It was a chance for a lot of players. Rhys did that.”

When reflecting back on the chances handed to his kids and fringe men over the last fortnight, Hignett admits he has been dissapointed that more have not stood up to be counted.

The gaffer said: “One or two have shown glimpses, but overall I’ve been disappointed.

“Is it nerves, lack of confidence or trying too hard?

“As a player you have to sort it out and take your chance when it comes.

“The game scenario shouldn’t matter. You always have a goal and a point to prove and I was disappointed with what I saw.

“You can look at training all you want, but a proper game is different.”

Hignett thinks one or two of his players, especially against Rochdale, might have had a touch of stage fright.

“It’s about performing on the stage and players all react differently when they have a chance,” said Hignett.

“How do they handle pressure? Is it the pressure of getting in the team?

“Sometimes young players handle it better than older ones as they are at the start of their journey and play with no fear, sometimes older ones know what it means and feel a different pressure.

“Players can try too hard and there’s a lot of confident lads here, but some try too hard.

“But it’s down to the player, the pressure is – can you do it when it matters?”