Pools boss Hignett hails energy of midfielder Hawkins
Craig Hignett plans to keep filling in pieces of the Hartlepool United puzzle before the end of the season.
But the Pools boss said he could not have been happier to have made Lewis Hawkins his first outfield ‘signing’.
The midfielder put pen to paper with keepers Adam Bartlett and Trevor Carson as Hignett looks to get the spine of his side in place early ahead of the 2016-17 campaign
Hawkins has enjoyed a Roy of the Rovers-style story this season.
Sent out on loan by then boss to Spennymoor, the 22-year-old enjoyed a good run in the Evo Stik Northern Premier League.
Recalled by Moore at the turn of the year, he marked his return with a man-of-the-match display in the FA Cup third-round thriller with Derby County.
Hawkins was then in and out of the side under Moore and then Hignett, but the Middlesbrough-born player has made a central midfield berth his own.
When he was left out on Tuesday night against Accrington, it was not because the axe had fallen on him, but a rest so Josh Laurent could get a game.
“Lewis has come through and deserved his deal, there’s no doubt about it,” said Hignett. “He’s a very important player for us.
“Lewis has been in and around the squad for a long time now.
“He’s full of energy, he wants to learn, he’s got a great attitude. When you have all them things then you have half a chance of doing something in the game.
“His performances have consistently been very, very good.
“He’s fully deserved his new contract.”
And Hignett is keen to add more to his list of contract-signees, which also includes defender Josh Nearney and teenage winger Jack Blackford.
But, having said that, he is keeping an open mind with his squad still having opportunities to play their way into next season.
“There will be two or three more that will put pen to paper very soon,” said Hignett, whose side were in action today at Oxford United.
“I know where I am in my mind, I think, but the season does not end until Plymouth.
“I will be looking and assessing right up until that last game.”