Craig Hignett keen to bloody the noses of the National League's big spenders in the transfer market this summer
Craig Hignett knows Hartlepool United can't compete with the National League's financial big hitters for every player - but the manager is keen to nick some of the best available talent from under their noses.
Hignett is this week putting the finishing touches to his squad for next season with a number of key figures set to reveal their fate before the weekend.
Myles Anderson was the latest player to nail his colours to the mast. Nicky Featherstone and Ryan Donaldson are expected to follow.
Carl Magnay, Luke Williams, Scott Loach and Liam Noble also remain in talks.
And Gateshead midfielder Tom White could be the first of a number of new signings, as Hignett attempts a summer overhaul aimed at taking Pools from 17th to right in the play-off mix, in line with chairman Raj Singh's expectations.
Pools are not awash with cash this summer - the budget is competitive but tight - and Hignett must be clever in his recruitment, much like this time last year.
"Every season we will get better," he said.
"The thing is, we need money and we need time. People say money is not important if you recruit properly but money is always important.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
The i newsletter cut through the noise
"You can’t compete with the best players if you haven’t got the money in this league.
"For that reason we’re going to have to be clever with the budget.
"I’m going to have to try and save a bit (of money) for the people everyone wants, whether that be a goal scorer, or whatever.
"I’m going to try and keep a bit in my pot so we can try and compete with the bigger boys in this league next season."
Hignett knows the size of the club will make Hartlepool an attractive proposition for many a non-league player.
"This club is a great club," he said.
"The club is one of the biggest clubs in this league and it’ll be attractive for anyone to come - but not if you are offering half wages."