Hartlepool United: Two more signings to come after Craig Hignett gets ex-Everton youngster
Craig Hignett is getting closer to completing his Hartlepool United squad for the 2016-17 season.
Toto Nsiala became his sixth new arrival yesterday and Hignett predicts at least two more ahead of the return to pre-season training at the end of this month.
The athletic central defender put pen to paper at Victoria Park on a free transfer from League Two new boys Grimsby Town.
Nsiala follows Nicky Deverdics, Ben Dudzinski, James Martin, Jake Orrell and Ben Pollock in joining Pools this summer.
Hignett has admitted the latter four are players primarily “for the future” while he expects to see Nsiala and Deverdics play key roles straight away.
The boss has not made wholesale signings after keeping the core of the Pools squad intact. But one more central defender and a goalscorer look on the menu.
“Next week we’ll have some more signings,” predicted Hignett, who has not written off bringing Adam Jackson back to the club, even though he has just signed a centre-half.
Jackson was superb last season on a long-term loan from Middlesbrough, playing alongside Matthew Bates at the heart of the defence.
Hignett admits there has been no word from Boro about the future of the 21-year-old, who could well be sent out on loan again by the Premier League new boys.
“It’s something we are still trying to get to the bottom of,” he said.
“Until Middlesbrough phone us back, there’s nothing we can do with Jacko.
“We’ve got Matty here and we’re looking to add Rob Jones as cover – I thought he was great for us last season.
“I’d like to get another one in, if I’m honest. I’ll be speaking to a couple of other defenders.
“I’ll be looking to get one of them and I’m not far off another signing.
“If that happens then we’ll be ready for the season.
“We’ll have four good centre-halves who have all played a lot of games – Toto played 40-odd games for Grimsby last season.
“I want competition for places in every area.
“It might mean we have some good players sitting on the bench, it’s up to all the lads to push themselves.”
Hignett will expect Nsiala to be in his starting formation for the season which opens on August 6 – Pools will get to know their fixtures on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old has just completed an outstanding season at Grimsby, who visited Wembley twice, beating Forest Green in the National League play-off final, while losing to Halifax in the FA Trophy final.
“I was delighted to get him because there was interest from elsewhere, he’s just had a great season,” said Hignett.
“Toto’s big powerful, quick and athletic.
“He’s only 24 so there is loads of improvement in him as well.
“Toto’s chosen us because he believes we’ll develop him and he’s certainly got the attributes to go and play at a higher level.”