Craig Hignett: Hartlepool United can be match for anyone

Craig Hignett has not ruled out a late sortie into the transfer market '“ but if he doesn't, then he insists he is happy with his lot.

Monday, 11th July 2016, 8:28 am
Craig Hignett

The Pools boss told SportMail last month he would like to add another centre-half to his squad and has been linked with Middlesbrough’s Adam Jackson, who had a successful loan period at Victoria Park in 2015-16.

Other than his central defensive vacancy, Hignett has got all his transfer work out of the way early doors, with Lewis Alessandra, Padraig Amond, Nicky Deverdics and Toto Nsalia all arriving ahead of the return to pre-season training.

The 46-year-old, who put a big Pools squad through their paces at Billingham Town on Saturday, said: “We are still looking.

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“We still have a couple of irons in the fire – we might bring one or two more in.

“But if I was to go into the season with what I’ve got, I’ll be happy.

“Between the two teams we had on Saturday, I think we’ll have an XI who will be a match for anyone in the division.”

Hignett is not getting carried away by the 4-0 win at Bedford Terrace, his optimism is based on what he has seen in his squad and the quality of player he has brought in during the summer, including the top marksman in the National League (Amond) and a goal-scoring midfielder (Deverdics).

Amond got off the mark on Saturday, ironically benefiting after Deverdics was denied a goal himself, the pair playing in the second half XI at the Northern League outfit.

It took Amond 15 minutes to find the net, three minutes quicker than his flat-mate, Alessandra, who was in the first half XI.

In between, skipper Billy Paynter and an OG accounted for the middle goals, both set up by Carl Magnay crosses.

Hignett was pleased with the afternoon’s work at Bedford Terrace.

“It was exactly what we wanted – two different teams in each half,” said Hignett.

“We played some good stuff first half, scored a few goals and then the game got a bit easy and a bit sloppy.

“Fair play to Billingham Town though, they kept going.

“It’s a workout I was pleased with. It’s about opening your lungs up again and playing on a full pitch, 11-a-side.

“There was some really good performances and I was pleased a couple of the new lads scored goals.

“There was a lot of positives and nothing to be disappointed with.”

All 20 Pool players – plus trialists Andrew May and Tom Gilbey – got at 45 minutes on the pitch, aside from Josh Laurent who limped off on the 26-minute mark.

The midfielder just felt a twinge but it wasn’t enough to keep him off last night’s flight to Tenerife.

Laurent was part of a 24-man squad and eight members of staff which jetted out from Manchester for a week-long training camp.