Craig Hignett discusses his transfer approach at Hartlepool United following Ben Killip signing

It's the personal touch that can make all the difference when it comes to getting a deal over the line - that's the view of Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett.

By Liam Kennedy
Sunday, 02 June, 2019, 14:32
Crai Hignett played a key role in the signing of goalkeeper Ben Killip.

Hignett was delighted to dampen fans' fears after the departure of goalkeeper Scott Loach, by announcing the addition of Ben Killip within hours.

Pools may well have let one of the most skilled, experienced goalkeepers in the National League go, but they've signed one of the new guard in adding the former Braintree Town man.

And it was all down to that personal touch - as Hignett knows he beat off some stiff competition this summer for the youngster.

"I know Ben mentioned that Ross Turnbull and I went down to London to meet him personally and discuss the move," he said.

"As I have said before, I think that’s an important part of things.

"It doesn’t happen as much as it should in football but I want to be able to look someone in the eye when I am asking them to come and play for the club.

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"It’s very easy to just pick up a phone to talk to someone or call an agent but if you’re sitting there in front of them you can get a feel for them and ask relevant questions. Of course, it works both ways and they feel good because you’ve made the effort to go and see them personally.

"It doesn’t always work, of course, and there’s more that goes in to pulling off a transfer than just meeting a player. I have sat in front of plenty of people already and not all of them have come off but it’s not for the lack of effort or the want of trying."

Having seen Killip produce heroics against Pools last season in a 1-1 draw down in Kent last August, the manager was never in any doubt about signing the player when the chance arose.

Speaking to the club website, Hignett added: "Those of us who were at the Braintree game last August saw him put in a very eye-catching display when he made a number of top saves, including one from a penalty.

"However, it wasn’t just that – he showed a real maturity for a young lad, he commanded his box and he’s vocal.

"As well as that, he’s as good as I’ve seen with the ball at his feet and he can kick it a long way too."