Craig Hignett happy for Hartlepool United friendlies to be tasty

Craig Hignett says he is happy to see some 'tasty' tackles going in during pre-season.

Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 7:00 am
Triallist Liam Donnelly brings down Duncan Watmore in the Pools v Sunderland friendly. Picture by KEVIN BRADY

The Hartlepool United boss may get his wish tonight when he puts out two teams in friendlies.

Pools will despatch one side to tackle Seaham Red Star at Seaham Town Park (kick-off 7.30pm) with another XI going to Guisborough Town at the King George V Ground (kick-off 7.45pm).

With their League Two opener against Colchester United on the horizon, Hignett does not want leg-breaking challenges flying in, but nor does he wish to witness testimonial-style games with the minimum physical contact.

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The boss was pleased with the nature of Saturday’s goalless draw at Livingston, where both sets of players were guilty of leaving their foot in from time-to-time.

“That’s why we played the game, we knew it was going to be tasty,” said Hignett.

“We want it to be competitive, that’s exactly what I want.

“It’s important to play at places like Livingston, we’re going to get this every week –every Saturday is going to be tough, especially away from home.

“I don’t want easy pre-season games where people are knocking it about under no pressure.

“I want the players put under pressure and, to be fair to Livingston, they did.

“They made it difficult for the lads.”

Hignett’s squad have not found the net since a four-goal stroll at Billingham Town, drawing a blank, not surprisingly perhaps, against Sunderland, then again at Scottish League One outfit Livingston.

But the manager feels that bit of sharpness in the advanced areas of the field will come.

Aside from a 15-minute Jermain Defoe-inspired Sunderland purple patch at Victoria Park last Wednesday, Pools have been solid defensively, as proven with a clean sheet at the Amondvale Stadium at the weekend.

“That final third is the bit that takes the longest to come,” said Hignett. “Defensively I thought it was sound.

“Coming on a long journey on the day of the game, you expect it taking 10 or 15 minutes for the lads to get going. But after we were fine and controlled it.”

Hignett has yet to formalise tonight’s sides though it may not be until Saturday’s friendly against Scunthorpe at the Vic that we may get an idea of his team to face Colchester on August 6.