Hartlepool boss wants quick start against Dagenham

Hartlepool United will tomorrow start the countdown to Saturday's crunch League Two clash with Dagenham & Redbridge.

Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 6:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 7:41 pm

And Craig Hignett says he will be emphasising to his players that they must get off to a sharp start at Victoria Park.

Pools have begun their last two games poorly, admittedly they were on the road.

But the side have conceded early goals, in the 10th minute to Matty Taylor at Bristol Rovers and then to Fumnaya Shomotun in the 11th minute of Barnet.

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Pools did fight back at the Hive where two brilliant Lewis Hawkins goals and a Nathan Thomas screamer fired them to a deserved 3-1 success.

However, the manager insists they can’t keep giving opponents a goal-start.

“For the second game running we didn’t start particularly fast and that’s something we’ll have to work on,” said Hignett.

“We can’t be chasing games. But, having said that, I’m so proud of the lads and their character. After last Tuesday it would have been easy for them to go in their shells after conceding early.

“We had to dig deep, but we kept going and played some good stuff. I was disappointed we didn’t score more goals so there are things to work on.”

Hignett is likely to send out the same XI though Adam Jackson is a contender, if he trains today and tomorrow.

The boss could have a dilemma of whether to play Rob Jones and Matthew Bates together on Saturday against the Daggers, given one of their three games in hand is just around the corner at Newport County, on Tuesday.

Hignett will retain the same midfield trio of Hawkins, Jake Gray and Nicky Featherstone.

The last time Hawkins impressed, at Luton, he found himself out of the side in the following match against Northampton.

But there is no danger of that this time after his two-goal salvo at Barnet.

“Hawksy has never let me down so I felt bad leaving him out when I did,” Hignett told SportMail.

“His reaction though was brilliant, different class - he’s a great lad.

“I was really pleased for him on Saturday.”