Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett delighted his fringe players making claim for shirts

Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett is delighted his fringe men have stepped up to the plate.
Scott HarrisonScott Harrison
Scott Harrison

The gaffer last week tasked the players in and around the first-team picture to stand and be counted, putting pressure on those in possession of the shirts.

And at Portsmouth last week players like Billy Paynter, Scott Harrison and Rhys Oates, all of whom have been starved of gametime this campaign, showed they are up for the fight.

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Hignett hopes they continue to do so, and a few others - the likes of Michael Woods - also make a case for a start.

He said: “Last week Scott was immense.

“This is nothing new, though, he was looking good in training, too.

“I decided because of his work in training I had to give him a chance. Now it is his job to hang on to his place in the team.

“Sometimes Scott can be a bit over-enthusiastic, but he was immense on the day.

“Rhys Oates was good, too.

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“He absolutely worked his socks off after getting the start.”

Harrison was restored to the centre of defence in place of Toto Nsiala at Pompey, with Jake Carroll coming back in for injured kid James Martin.

And when asked whether he thinks he has stumbled across his best defence - with Liam Donnelly on the right and Matthew Bates making up the four - Hignett said: “Is this my best back four? Perhaps it is.

“The result wasn’t about them on Saturday, though.

“Everyone who played, the subs and the whole squad were part of it. Every one of them played their part in getting things back on track.”