Billy Paynter to return for Hartlepool United v Portsmouth?

Billy Paynter
Billy Paynter

Billy Paynter could be set for a Hartlepool United return for Saturday’s Victoria Park finale with Portsmouth.

Paynter has been sidelined for the last five Pools matches following a hamstring strain in the 1-0 defeat at Carlisle.

The top scorer has been missed, Pools have won twice and lost three times in his absence.

His presence up front would have been ideal at Oxford on Saturday when Pools hasd a ton of possession but only one shot on target.

“Did we miss Billy?” said Hignett in the aftermath of the 2-0 loss at the Kassam Stadium.

“We will always miss him as he’s something different to the rest of what we have.

“He gets the ball, holds it up, gets in the box and scores goals – you will always miss a player like that.

“Our midfielders in the first half were great, they have a really good understanding with each other.

“In the first half, Oxford were chasing shadows and they were moaning at half-time, even though they were one up.

“But it’s no good having all that possession without any end-product. We didn’t have it.

“Second half we had some set-pieces we should have scored from but the ultimate difference was the quality of the front men.

“When you go away from home you have to put them chances away if you are to get a result.

“I didn’t think there was much between the side to be honest, we were better with the football – they had a spell in the second half [when they were on top] when our shape went but there was very little in the game.

“I don’t think we had enough in the final third.

“That’s the difference between the teams at the top and those meandering in the middle, the front players and the quality of them.”

Pools had trailed to an early goal from the highly-touted Kemar Roofe who pounced after Liam Sercombe’s shot came back off the bar.

But the away side gave as good as they got after that, only for Sercombe to clinch it deep into injury time.

“I felt we were going to get something,” said Hignett.

“We started pushing and had two set-pieces, but we gifted them a daft goal at the end.

“We went close to a couple of goals from set-pieces, not too far away.

“We should have scored if I’m honest, but it wassn’t to be and that’s the story of the game – we played well from box to box but we could not produce enough quality to score a goal.”