Craig Hignett wants 'no excuses' from his Hartlepool United players this season
Craig Hignett welcomed his Hartlepool United players back to training this week as preparations for the upcoming National League season got underway.
Pools’ performances picked up towards the back end of last season under Hignett, leaving plenty of signs of encouragement.
Retaining key players and brining in five new additions, three of which spent time on loan at the Super 6 Stadium last season, was important in keeping a level of consistency and togetherness in the squad.
But for Hignett, it’s all about standards and not giving his players the chance to make any excuses.
“The most important thing for me is for the players to come to work and enjoy it,” he said.
“I don’t want to give them any excuses to fail. I’ll be here at eight o’clock in the morning until six, seven o’clock at night, whatever it takes.
“If the players want extra, they can have it, I’ll be here all the time so there’s nothing a player can come to use about and say ‘we didn’t do that’ or make excuses about. There are no excuses this season, I’ll tell them that.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
“All the staff have made sure all potential excuses have been taken away from them so that all the players do is focus on playing their football and doing the best they can to improve themselves.
“If they don’t improve themselves, it’s their own fault because everything is here for them.”
This raising of the bar from Hignett extends beyond the players and staff and to the club as a whole.
“The standards this year, in terms of where we come to work, we want it nice and clean,” continued the Pools boss.
“The players have to take responsibility for that. Last year it was difficult because we’d just changed to a new porta-cabin and we’d let things drift a little bit in terms of our standards.
“The equipment has to be spot on and I know it sounds stupid but they’re all standards around the club because this is a new club now and I want everyone to be proud of where they play and where they go to work.”