Defeat at York City leaves Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett closer to knowing his strongest XI

Hartlepool United’s 2-1 midweek defeat at York City provided manager Craig Hignett with plenty to think about in terms of team selection.

By Dominic Scurr
Thursday, 18 July, 2019, 11:45
Craig Hignett at York City. Picture: Frank Reid

Contrasting halves saw Pools dominate in the opening 45-minutes and deservedly go ahead through a looping Nicke Kabamba header before eight half-time changes allowed an unaltered York side to capitalise.

Goals from Dan Maguire and Alex Kempster completed the turnaround at Bootham Crescent.

And with the competitive season drawing ever closer, Hignett believes this pre-season has given him a good idea about how he’ll want to line-up against Sutton on August 3.

“I’m starting to get a good idea of my best side now 100%,” he said.

“Maybe not the best 11 but certainly best 15 to 17 and I think I’m getting a picture in my mind so we’ll see. But I think you’re getting to see a strong picture of how we are going to play.

“There were a few players who impressed me in the first half at York and I thought we had a really good performance all around.

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“Nicke Kabamaba was a handful as he always is and tried really hard, deserved his goal.

“Gus (Mafuta) was alright, maybe he could have passed the ball a bit quicker but on the whole he was good. Kenton Richardson and Romoney (Crichlow-Noble) played well at full-back and Fraser Kerr was good as well.

“There were some really good performances, I thought Liam Noble was excellent at times, as was Nicky Featherstone.

“But it’s no good doing it for a half, the lads who came on are just as capable and should have carried it on but didn’t. In a difficult second half I thought Jason Kennedy was good again, he was the one who you could see knows what he’s doing.

“He never hides, he kept going and was good on the ball so in a disappointing second half he was one who did really well.

“I think you’ve got to give some credit to York who obviously got in our faces and put a few tackles in which is what you expect and what I want because it’s as close to a league game as we’ll get.”