Craig Hignett under no illusions as he admits scale of Hartlepool United job ahead of summer rebuild

Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett is preparing his side to take on Salford City on Saturday (Shutterpress).
Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett is preparing his side to take on Salford City on Saturday (Shutterpress).

Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett admits he has a "massive" job on his hands to turn around the club's National League fortunes.

Pools are languishing in 17th place in the fifth tier with just one game left to play. They are on the same points tally as they achieved last season under Craig Harrison and Matthew Bates.

And Hignett is under no illusions that the task in front of him is a significant one.

READ Liam Kennedy's scathing analysis of Hartlepool United's "toothless" performance at Barrow HERE

"The job is a massive job," said Hignett, whose side follow up from their 1-0 loss at Barrow with a clash against promotion-chasing Salford City on Saturday.

"We have done OK. I can't complain with what the players have produced. At the end of the season you always have a drop off but I don't want that. I don't care what point of the season it is, I don't want a drop off. I want 100%.

Craig Hignett issues Hartlepool United ultimatum as he accuses players of lack of effort and desire

The manager had hoped to get the majority of his summer business done before the close of the National League registration deadline in March, but the footballing gods were not in his favour. And that means this summer is likely to be much busier than he initially expected.

Hignett continued: "I am not into all that blame stuff.

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"The players have been brilliant since I have come in. It is a big job, everyone can see where we are short - me more so than anyone. And I need to fix it bit by bit. It is not going to fix overnight, but we are going to fix it.

"It is a case of getting to the summer, we already have a plan in place. It's about putting together as many pieces of that jigsaw as we can."

One bad habit Pools must lose over the summer is there trend of conceding first - which they did again at Holker Street on Easter Monday.

"We always come from behind - that's frustrating," he said.

"I would like to score the first goal because if you do that in this league it makes a massive difference."