Boss Craig Hignett reveals how he plans to get Luke James scoring again for Hartlepool United

Hartlepool United 3-1 Dagenham and Redbridge League2. Picture by FRANK REID
Hartlepool United 3-1 Dagenham and Redbridge League2. Picture by FRANK REID

Craig Hignett insists he will be the man to get Luke James “going again” on the goals front.

The Hartlepool United forward goes into tonight’s League Two trip to Newport County still awaiting to find the net for the first time since his half-season loan signing from Peterborough.

I’ll get him going, I know I will get him going

Craig Hignett

While James has yet to notch, there is no doubting his effort or contribution to the cause.

In Saturday’s 3-1 win over Dagenham, the 21-year-old had two assists.

He was fouled for the penalty which Billy Paynter converted to put Pools ahead and supplied the pass which set up Jake Gray for the game-clincher.

“Sooner or later he will score,” declared Hignett.

“I feel for Lukey, he’s trying like a bear, he’s getting closer and closer.

“I think once the first goes in, he’ll be away.

“He works his socks off and you just love him for what he does, how hard he works.

“He gets battered but he never moans, he just gets up and gets on with it. He’s like a weeble.

“Nothing fazes him

“His attitude, the way he wants to learn, it’s not changed.

“But I’ll get him going, I know I will get him going.

“I see the same things now as he had then.”

Hignett says the shortage of goals is not a terminal problem.

He feels he may have suffered from moving from Pools, where he was the principal scorer, to a bigger club where there was such a lavish squad.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen to him at the end of the season, I think he has a couple of years left on his contract at Peterborough,” said the manager.

“Sometimes when you go elsewhere, you can get swallowed up in a big club, people don’t have time for you.

“That’s the thing I find a bit difficult here because we have such a big squad.

“There are so many players who you want to work on and it’s hard to find time for them all.

“It would suit me if we had a smaller squad here.”

That thought will be for a later day for the Scouser.

But his priority tonight will be more down to systems rather than numbers.

Hignett may well deviate from his preferred 4-3-3 and play a 4-4-2, with Luke James either up front with Billy Paynter or just behind him in a 4-4-1-1.

If the pitch is difficult to pass on, it will mean Pools needing to get the ball up top quicker.

But Hignett wants Pools to show better ball retention, especially given they are up against an-form side who won 3-0 at Portsmouth.

“We’ve got to be a bit more clinical and I think we can be better with the ball,” he said.