Craig Hignett discusses 'tight' summer budget but sets sights on National League promotion

Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett (Shutterpress).Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett (Shutterpress).
Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett (Shutterpress).
Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett knows budgets will be tight at the Super 6 Stadium - but he’s sure he can improve his squad this summer.

Hignett is keen to add at least SIX players, subject to departures, between now and the start of the next campaign.

And he’s set his sights on a top seven, National League play-off push with his new look side.

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“I know what I want, finances will be tight and will ultimately dictate what we can and can’t do,” he said.

“We crack on to make the club better.”

Hignett continued: “Top seven is the aim next season, that’s what we have to go for.

“And the chairman has put a fortune in and he wants to see progress.

“Next season had to be better and if it isn’t I won’t be sat here.”

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Hignett is set to have his players in for one final session tomorrow ahead of a seven week summer break.

Work starts tomorrow on what we need,” said Hignett.

“Lots are out of contract, some we keep, some we won’t, some we renegotiate. But that won’t change my focus. The pool of players at this level means no-one is bigger than the club and we won’t be held to ransom – we want the right type, right characters.

“For me, I have Sunday off, in Monday, lads in Tuesday for testing and we give them time off. Then we get them in two days a week after a month for testing.

“I want to come back as the fittest team in the league, athletic, everything that the successful teams are.

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“But let’s enjoy this result and it’s nice to end on a win.”

After an end of season with little to play for, pressure will build on Hignett and his players this summer.

Promotion is not expected, but Pools will have to be challenging, in order to satisfy chairman Raj Singh.

Hignett continued: “This season has not been a success, 17th doesn’t look great but the league is tight.

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“In and around halfway was alright this season, but not for next.

The chairman is going to dig in and give me ten million quid to win the league,” joked the manager.

“It’s a big job. We have had three managers this season, that can’t happen.

“You need time to build something and we need to put blocks in and add to it with what we need.

“I’ve enjoyed it, I love every minute of it.

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“The frustrating bit is wanting to do so well after being battered for years.

“The whole place is together again, fans, players. I’ve had good feedback from people but we need success and we will do all we can to bring that.”

Pools have ended the season winning four of their last five at the Super 6 Stadium - only second-placed Solihull Moors have left the Vic with three points since February.

“I’m really pleased with how the season ended, apart from Barrow,” said the manager.

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“Home form here has been poor for a long time. It’s a collective effort, players, staff fans and the atmosphere here now is brilliant.

“But we have to win games to give people hope and promise and we hope for a summer to be optimistic, but we know it’s a big job.

“That’s how I want to play, pass the ball but I understand you need more in this league and we need top be big, physical and powerful and mix it with footballers.”