Craig Hignett wants Hartlepool United to step things up when they host Middlesbrough

Hartlepool United welcome Championship side Middlesbrough to the Super 6 Stadium this afternoon for their fourth pre-season friendly match (1pm kick-off).

Sunday, 14th July 2019, 08:00 am
Craig Hignett feels his side still have more to offer ahead of the new season. Picture by Frank Reid

After comfortably seeing off Northern League sides Billingham Town, Shildon and Newton Aycliffe in their opening three matches, Pools will be looking to step things up for their first home friendly against Jonathan Woodgate’s Boro.

“The game has come at a perfect time and I think we’ve still got a bit more in us if I’m honest, we’ve still got to get fitter,” said manager Craig Hignett.

“We’ve got to get around the pitch a bit more and the closing down can get better. When we lose the ball the transition can be quicker. But on the whole, we’ve played some really good stuff and no disrespect to the teams we’ve played so far but they haven’t been able to live with us which is a good sign.

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t change our mentality for the Middlesbrough match, we’ll attack them.

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“It’s a step up obviously but it’ll be a really tough game but one I’m looking forward to because it’s the game where we’ll find more about my players.

“It’s alright going to play these sides and coasting through games but against Middlesbrough we’ll be really tested which is important.”

Hignett also provided a quick fitness update ahead of the match.

“We’re okay, Fraser (Kerr) will be involved, Mark Kitching has tweaked his back so he’ll miss out,” he revealed.

“Ryan (Donaldson) is still not involved in training, it’s a little niggley one with his calf but hopefully he’ll be back by next week.

“Myles (Anderson) has been back in training, he’s got another appointment with his dentist which I think is the last one so after he’s got that out the way he’ll be ready for us.”

Former Middlesbrough midfielder and Pools trialist Jason Kennedy is set to play a part once again though it is likely that another former Boro man, Luke Williams, will remain rested.

Cash turnstiles will be in operation for all supporters at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.