Craig Hignett reveals the 'Leeds United' tactic that led to Hartlepool signing Ben Killip.

Craig Hignett has revealed the lengths Hartlepool United have gone to in order to bring in the right players this summer with goalkeeper Ben Killip being a prime example.

By Dominic Scurr
Wednesday, 17 July, 2019, 06:00
Ben Killip in action for Hartlepool United. Picture by Frank Reid

The England C international became Pools’ third summer signing when he was snapped up from Braintree Town following the conclusion of the 2018-19 campaign.

But little did the goalkeeper know that Hignett and goalkeeping coach Ross Turnbull had been keeping tabs on him for a long time.

Some sneaky due diligence back when Pools faced Braintree at the Super 6 Stadium back in January meant Hignett had a good idea of the type of player he was bringing in.

“We’ve done a lot of homework on the lads that we’ve signed, a lot of homework,” said the Hartlepool manger.

“To the point where we even had Ben Killip’s warm-up filmed last season. When Braintree played at our place, we earmarked him from early in the season and we had his warm-up videoed, unbeknownst to him.”

The recording of Killip came shortly after the controversy surrounding Leeds United and manager Marcelo Bielsa for ‘spying’ on their opposition. But for Pools, it just shows the impressive level of research that takes place at the club.

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“I don’t know if we can say that or not, is that illegal? It’s a bit Bielsa-ish ain’t it?” Hignett joked.

“We did tell him when we were speaking to him after that and he just said he was glad he didn’t get caught picking his nose and eating it during the warm-up!

“That was Ross who did that though, not me, I’ll drop Ross in that! But in all seriousness that’s the type of detail we’re going to because every penny counts.”

And even Killip was impressed by the research conducted by his new club.

“I really liked it,” he admitted.

“Ross put in a lot of due diligence into that once so it’s good to see really. He sent a video to me before the England C game which was nice to watch and I went on to have a good game so it’s small things that can make a big difference.”