Craig Hignett picks out main positives from Hartlepool United's opening three friendlies

With 17 goals scored and none conceded from the opening three pre-season matches, Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett has certainly been encouraged by the early signs.

Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 11:45 am
Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett during pre-season. Picture by Frank Reid

After winning 4-0 at Billingham Town and 6-0 at Shildon, Pools went one better on Tuesday evening with a 7-0 thrashing of Northern League Division One side Newton Aycliffe.

It took Hignett’s side almost half an hour to open the scoring through Liam Noble, before Luke James, Josh Hawkes, Nicke Kabamba, Luke Molyneux and a Gime Toure brace saw them run out as convincing winners at Moore Lane.

“I’m very pleased,” Hignett said following the full-time whistle.

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“These have been warm up games for us but the fashion in which we’ve got through them has been really impressive. What I’m doing in training I can see coming out on the pitch which means I’m working with a really good group who are learning and want to get better.”

Pools have flown out the blocks in their opening three matches though they are still yet to be tested having only faced sides from four steps lower than the National League.

But that didn’t stop Hignett picking out some key positives.

“I think the way we’ve moved the ball, the goals we’ve scored and the quality of them,” he added.

“The clean sheets obviously help, it hasn’t mattered who we’ve played in terms of the personnel, the standard has remained very high.

“For me the main thing is that we’ve got through it without picking up any significant injuries. So it’s minutes on the pitch for everyone, the goals scored and the good habits we’ve been developing.

“We’ve got some real quality going forward, last year we had quality but we weren’t always ruthless with it. This year we look a lot more ruthless and have the bit between our teeth.

“We’ve done what we had to do these first three games now we have some real tests where we’ll find out more about the character of the players.”

Pools will face their first real test of pre-season when they host Middlesbrough on Sunday (1pm kick-off).