Hartlepool boss looking for more clout from midfield

Craig Hignett might be enjoying the football at Hartlepool United - or certainly after Saturday's win at Barnet.

Thursday, 10th March 2016, 5:00 am
Jake Gray in the thick of the action at Barnet

But the Pools boss wants to see a bit of steel as well as the silk.

Pools face a crunch League Two clash with Dagenham & Redbridge at Victoria Park.

It’s not quite do or die after the 3-1 win at the Hive gave their safety hopes a major lift, moving five points clear of the bottom two.

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However, Hignett wants his side, particularly his central players, to be more combative.

“I’d like us to be more aggressive, particularly in midfield,” he said.

“I want us to put our foot in.

“There’s no point just running with people, you have to make them worry about you, put the pressure on.”

His attacking midfielders are in the goals, Jake Gray has five and Lewis Hawkins two, both coming against the Bees, while Nicky Featherstone’s skills are linked to the holding duties.

Featherstone will always be ‘available’ to team-mates and likes to keep the ball moving, but he is not really a tackler.

But Hignett is looking for more clout from his men in the middle and will expect to see it against the Daggers.

He also wants Pools to improve in the mental battle as well as the physical one.

Hignett was unhappy Pools “went long” in the latter stages having previously controlled play with a shorter passing game.

“We need to be more professional, see games out better,” he said.

“We have good footballers here, who can keep the ball, we need to make opponents chase the game.”

Hignett does not want to be seen as a moaner - he is happy with how Pools have looked going forward.

But he has seen areas that need a tweak to make the side perform better.

He has no question marks over the character, especially given Pools fought back from a goal down to see off Barnet, who had been one of the form sides in the division.

“We stuck together - we are a team,” he said..

“There are no individuals, everyone’s together.”