Craig Hignett factor keeps Chelsea product Michael Woods at Hartlepool United

Michael Woods said the '˜Craig Hignett factor' proved the clincher in deceding that Hartlepool United was the club for him.

Tuesday, 21st June 2016, 9:40 am
Michael Woods

The midfielder finally put pen to paper to a new deal at Victoria Park having been out of contract.

Hignett had always been confident the 26-year-old former Chelsea starlet would nail his colours to the mast – once he knew his manager was not leaving.

SportMail revealed how Hignett had been inatalled as the bookies’ favourite to take the vacant manager’s job at Blackburn Rovers.

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But once Owen Coyle was named as the new boss at Ewood park, Woods was happy to say he was staying put!

“I’m delighted to have got it done,” Woods told SportMail.

“There were a few things holding it back, me being on holiday, the gaffer being away, but the reassurance he was going to be here really.

“There was a bit of interest in him earlier in the summer which has been well documented.

“Him being here was the main thing to be honest.”

Woods though explained that his relationship with head physio, Ian Gallagher, and his team-mates was also key, as well as the rapport he has with the fans.

Gallagher helped get the Yoorkshireman back to fitness ahead of schedule by the stasrt of last season following his recovery from a dislocated ankle and fractured fibula suffered early in 2015.

“I’ve got a lot of close relationships with other people here, it’s not just about the gaffer,” said Woods.

“It’s well known what Buster has done for me since I came to the club and especially after I had that bad injury.

“The fans have always been great with me, plus all the backroom staff.

“When I was in hospital last year, there was a queue of people at the door to come and see me and you don’t forget stuff like that.”

However, there were football reasons too – Woods feels the squad is capable of challenging at the right end of the table.

There was interest in him, including from League One clubs, Oldham believed to be one, but he saw Pools as having the best prospects.

“I was out of contract,” he said. “I did speak to a few other clubs, but signing for Hartlepool felt right.

“This is where I really wanted to be.

“Hopefully I can be part of something good and we can try to achive something.

“We have a good base here.

“The gaffer has had a bit of a clear-out but he’s just signed Padraig Amond and I think he’s still looking to bring a couple more in.

“If he can add to what we’ve got then we can have a successful season.

“I’m not going to sit here like an idiot and say ‘we’re going to win the league’ because that would be stupid.

“But I think there is a real belief we are going to be looking up for the first time in a couple of years.”