Craig Hignett fears losing Hartlepool United stars in January

Nathan Thomas. Picture by FRANK REID
Nathan Thomas. Picture by FRANK REID

The January transfer window is a constant concern for Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett.

The gaffer admits the month-long winter window is giving him plenty of headaches, especially with a number of his star players being watched by bigger fish in the Football League pyramid.

Nathan Thomas has been watched by a number of Championship scouts in recent weeks, but he is not the only one, according to Hignett.

SportMail can reveal that Toto Nsiala has been tracked in recent weeks by clubs in League One, and the likes of Liam Donnelly, Trevor Carson, Josh Laurent and Lewis Hawkins are understood to have caught the eye.

As a result the Pools boss’ mind has already turned to the opening of trading.

And while he does have concerns he may lose one or two of his classier players, he has mixed feelings about the whole thing.

When asked about losing players in January, Hignett explained: “It worries me. It does. But that’s if I am selfish.

“But we have a philosophy at this football club and that is to develop young players. So we want to help them to go higher.

“And by higher I do not mean League One. A step there is a sideways move for me.

“We want our players to go Championship at least.

“It is pleasing to have played a part in getting the players where they want to be but also can be frustrating as a manager.

“Losing players ultimately makes my job a lot harder.”

Pushing January trading aside, a more immediate concern for the manager is the fact that his side have conceded six goals in their last two, both of which have resulted in losses.

While Hignett is worried about his team’s defensive capabilities, he is of the belief that had his players been more clinical in front of goal the game would have been out of sight.

He said: “At half time we were disappointed that we only 1-0 up.

“It should have been four. But we just weren’t clinical enough.

“We gave ourselves a great platform to go on but could take it.

“There goalkeeper has made some good saves but the three goals we conceded were three of the poorest goals I have ever seen. You will struggle to win games if you defend like that.

“We had a few chances. The difference is they put their ones away.

“We probably had more clear cut chances than they had in the game, but we scored one and they got three.

“That has to improve.”