Craig Hignett wants to see ex-Sunderland winger carry on form against Wimbledon
Craig Hignett does not want to see Nathan Thomas let his high standards slip as Hartlepool United look to carry on their excellent run.
Thomas has been in superb form in the four-match unbeaten sequence which has lifted Pools to the brink of safety, if they are not secure in League Two already.
The 21-year-old will be a key attacking player for Hignett when Pools return to home soil this Friday afternoon against high-fliers Wimbledon.
Thomas has already shone, repeatedly, at Victoria Park but has been less effective on the road – until now.
Pools are unbeaten in their last three awaydays, with Thomas brilliant in all of them.
He led the Crawley defence a merry dance at the Broadfield Stadium on Saturday, all that was lacking was a goal.
“Nathan deserved a goal – he was outstanding,” said Hignett.
“We have worked hard on switching the play and getting it wide to Nathan and he’s been a constant threat.
“It worked a treat and not just for him – we knew the full-backs were going to be key – we had pace out wide and their right-back didn’t know if he was coming or going with him.
“It’s a pity he didn’t get a goal to cap off his display.
“Nathan is playing very well and with confidence.”
Such was the quality, speed and skill of Thomas, Town had to resort to countless fouls on the advanced player.
“He’s a threat and sometimes to stop him they have to foul him,” said Hignett.
The Pools boss says he has been happy to give the former Sunderland wide player the freedom to drift from his position on the left of skipper Billy Paynter.
But Hignett told SportMail that Thomas has still been putting in the work inside his own territory too.
“Nathan is a real handful but he is doing the other side to it as well,” said the Scouser.
“There were one or two occasions Crawley players ran past him and we had to shout at him.
“On the whole, he’s getting back and doing his defensive duties.
“But he knows when we win it we are looking for him.”