Five issues that face Pools boss Craig Hignett

While Saturday's loss to Carlisle was a disappointment, the result was by no means a disaster.

Monday, 17th October 2016, 11:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 6:48 pm
Padraig Amond celebrates his goal with Lewis Alessandra

After the match Pools boss Craig Hignett, by his own admission, has a couple of areas of weakness he needs to address.

Here we take a look at five issues facing the gaffer ahead of next weekend’s visit of Leyton Orient.

Service to Nathan Thomas needs to improve

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He was the man of the moment just a fortnight ago. Fast forward to Saturday and the wide player had, yet again, one of his more quiet days.

Not to be too critical - this can happen from time to time. He is a young player who is still finding his way in the game. Inconsistency, at this stage of his career, is to be expected.

But when you see the quality he has produced since the summer, one thing that cannot be allowed to happen is for the ball not to get to Thomas.

This was one issue from Saturday. Pools, at times, struggled to get the ball to Thomas in the right areas.

Address Pools’ susceptibility to crosses

Whether it be from open play or from set-pieces Pools seems to have a slight chink in their armour in a defensive sense. The problem is width and balls coming into the box.

Take Saturday as the perfect example. One ball up the flank caught Pools napping. And the winner came from a simple corner.

I’m sure Hignett and his band of quality coaches will be working to address these little issues in the week.

Keep faith with Padraig Amond

Week-in, week-out there have been calls for the Irishman to drop out of the team. I’m sure that this week will be no different.

But time and time again, despite his critics, Amond continues to produce the goods. He did so again this weekend, popping up with the second equaliser at Brunton Park.

While his all-round game may not be 100% suited to the ‘lone’ striker role he is asked to occupy, Amond has done what any good forward should do - score goals.

He may not be too strong in the air, nor is he able to hold the ball up like a Billy Paynter, but he has that natural knack of being in the right place at the right time in the penalty box. And added to that his workrate is absolutely phenomenal. Three goals in his last three is testament to that.

Despite what many may say Hignett should stick with Amond.

Find a place for Liam Donnelly, and stick with it

In terms of natural ability the Northern Ireland Under-21 captain is by far and away the best defender in Pools squad.

Saying that, I’m sure Toto Nsiala might have a think or two to say about that.

And while his stint in midfield yesterday was reasonably successful, a switch to the backline might suit moving forward.

Through circumstance and not design Donnelly has been moved right across the back four and into midfield.

His true position needs to be found.

And it’s likely that home lies in the centre of Pools defence alongside DR Congo international Nsiala.

Having had a shaky couple of weeks it’s probably time for Scott Harrison to make way.

Give Josh Laurent more freedom to roam

Midfielder Laurent, at times, looks a class above this level.

But he can find it difficult to get in the game, also.

The return of Nicky Featherstone will hopefully give Laurent the freedom to roam. Maybe then, he can add a goal or two that is missing from his game.