Hartlepool United v Wimbledon: Chance for Pools to prove point to Wombles boss Neal Ardley

Craig Hignett believes it's time for Hartlepool United to show how good they are.

Wednesday, 23rd March 2016, 10:25 am
Updated Wednesday, 23rd March 2016, 11:42 am
Nathan Thomas

Pools face a challenge to their unbeaten run, which stands at four games, when they host Wimbledon tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

And there will be more than just the incentive of extending their sequence to five when they take on the Wombles.

Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley was scathing in his comments about Pools after his team beat Ronnie Moore’s side 2-0 at Kingsmeadow on the last day of October.

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Ardley said “the gulf between the teams was as big as I could possibly see in League Two” among other boasts.

While, of course, that was a different era, many of the players remain the same and Hignett says they should be keen to display how good the new Pools are.

“I might be reminding the lads of what was said,” Hignett told SportMail.

“Tomorrow, hopefully we’ll see the improvement we’ve made and if Wimbledon have gone backwards then that’s his fault!

“We’re getting better all the time and this is a chance to pit ourselves against a team going for the play-offs and see how far we’ve come.

“For us, it’s a great chance to lay down a marker and say we’re in a false position.

“We’ve put this run together, where we’ve proved we can go away from home and be hard to beat.

“We’ve shown at home against Northampton and Dagenham that we can pick up points at home.”

Hignett knows the two Neals/Neils in charge at Wimbledon well – Neal Ardley was a former opponent of the Pools boss and Neil Cox a team-mate at Boro.

The Pools chief knows the Wombles arrive at the Vic lying just outside the play-ofs – but not in the hottest of form,

Wimbledon are ninth, just three points off the play-offs, but last Saturday’s injury-time 2-1 victory over York City was their first in six games.

“They are not in brilliant form and we’re in the best form we’ve been in all season,” said Hignett, whose side are nine points above the League Two drop zone.

“We’re at home and it’s a good opportunity to put more space between us and who are below us and try to catch the teams in front of us.

“I see every game as an opportunity – I saw the Northampton match at home as one.

“They are in a good position, Neal Ardley and Neil Cox have done a great job there, they are on the edge of the play-offs, so they will be full of confidence.

“But saying that, the way we’re playing, we are full of confidence.

“But my focus is on my team and the way we are playing.

“At the minute, the players are in a really good place and playing some great stuff.”