Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett discusses formations and systems ahead of National League kick-off

Pre-season has provided Hartlepool United the opportunity to try out several different approaches and systems ahead of the new season.

Thursday, 1st August 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 1st August 2019, 7:00 am
Hartlepools Craig Hignett gives instructions during the Vanarama National League match between Barnet and Hartlepool United (photo: Ian Randall)

Pools will get their National League campaign underway at home to Sutton United at the Super 6 Stadium on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

And while Craig Hignett is confident in the way he wants his side to play, the Hartlepool manager wants his options open in order to keep the opposition guessing.

“I want to be flexible, but the way we defend will be the same in every system,” he said.

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“There will be slight changes, nothing major. Against Macclesfield we played two in behind one striker whereas normally we play two wide and one up front.

“We also changed to a diamond, there will be games where a diamond will cause teams problems, there will be times we need to stretch teams when we’ve got the quicker lads in our side.

“I don’t want to change a system where all changes and people have to go into a different mode, the way I want it is that everyone defends in the same way, the roles stay the same.”

In terms of a formation, Hignett has remained fairly consistent with a 4-3-3 in various forms during pre-season but has experimented with three at the back on occasion.

“Second half at Shildon we played three at the back without wing-backs which was good and a bit ‘Ajaxy’ at times,” he added.

“We’ve got a lot of legs in the team now so I’m asking midfield players and the wide lads up front to fill in holes and be clever about when they go and when they press and they were really clever with it.The Shildon game was the first time we played like that.

“But I think 4-3-3 is probably the way we’ll go and we’ll change it as games come depending on the shape.

“We might have one sitting, we might have one in front but I think we’ve got a lot of flexibility there.

“The shape hasn’t really changed, it’s just a matter of who is going to play there.”