Craig Hignett believes Hartlepool United are now “realistically” safe from drop

Craig Hignett and Curtis Fleming.
Craig Hignett and Curtis Fleming.

Craig Hignett believes Hartlepool United are now “realistically” safe after creating an 11-point buffer with the relegation zone, writes Chris Young.

Pools’ 1-0 win over AFC Wimbledon, coupled with York City’s 2-2 draw against Crawley, looks to have almost certainly secured the club’s status in League Two for another year, particularly as Hignett’s men have two games in hand on the second bottom Minstermen.

After a return of 11 points from the last five games, boss Hignett is now looking up the table, rather than down, with his sights set as high as 16th placed Crawley.

“We’re not safe because it’s not mathematically safe yet,” said Hignett.

“But I think it will be difficult to catch us with the form we’re in.

“I think York have to win four games without us picking up another point in the games we’ve got left.

“Realistically, we’re not involved in that.

“There was never any pressure for me.

“People are nervous and that’s understandable. Fans do get tetchy, and the players do as well.

“We had a couple of games early on when we got nervous, but looking back now, if the Notts County game was now and the Luton game was now, we wouldn’t be losing.

“I’ve always been looking up because there’s nothing below us that I’m worried about. It’s catching the other teams.”

Adam Jackson’s first half header was sufficient for Pools to come away with three points, but it was a third successive clean sheet which was key to victory.

Pools even survived a second half route one onslaught from the Dons, when visiting boss threw on giant strikers Adebayo Akinfenwa and Tom Elliott.

“I thought we were outstanding defensively,” added Hignett.

“We weren’t as great with the ball as I wanted to be, but maybe we were a bit tired as a team.

“We’ve done loads of miles, and even the kitman has got DVT. That’s true, he’s got DVT through all the travelling we’ve been doing.

“The league needs to look at the fixtures, but to come away with the points is all credit to the lads.”