Craig Hignett hails Hartlepool United chairman Gary Coxall and hopes to repay faith with success

Craig Hignett
Craig Hignett

Craig Hignett says Hartlepool United chairman Gary Coxall has put his “faith” in him and intends to repay him with success.

When Pools parted company with Ronnie Moore in February there was only one candidate on Coxall’s list: Hignett.

The chairman has been different class

Craig Hignett

The rookie boss has already justified the appointment by taking the side from 22nd and hovering above the relegation trapdoor to the comfort of 16th.

And Hignett will be looking to finish off the season on a high by taking the scalp of promotion-chasing Accrington tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).

“The chairman has been different class,” declared Hignett.

“Gary has allowed me a free rein to do what I want and from the first time we met we hit it off.

“He lets me get on with it and sometimes, out of courtesy, I go to him with things and he says ‘I trust you with the football side 100%, just get on with it’.

“I’d rather have a chairman like that and it’s brilliant for me in my first job.

“The last thing I want – the bane of any manager’s life – is a chairman saying ‘you have to do this’, ‘you should do that’.

“The chairman has shown a lot of faith in me and this is only my first job as a manager. I’d like to repay him and would like to think I can.

“The backing I’ve had has been superb.”

Hignett is already thinking about next season and how he can get Pools to the next level.

That will involve a reduction in the current squad to afford him scope to add fresh talent,

“If the chairman gives me two million in the summer we will be OK!” laughed the 46-year-old.

“But my job now is to bring in the right players with the budget that I’ve got.

“I’ve a massive squad here and if I can trim it a bit and look to get less in but with better quality.

“But they are all the things I need to sit down with and think about properly.”

Hignett was always supremely confident that Pools would pull clear of 22nd though he wasn’t expecting it being done so soon.

And he paid tribute to the squad for their efforts - and achievements

“It’s all come about quicker than anticipated getting to this point,” he said.

“It’s all well and good having ideas and plans on how you want to play as a manager, but it’s about the players being able to go out there and do it.

“They’ve done that, I’ve nothing but praise for them.

“But that’s not only as team or 11 or 18 involved but as a squad and everyone involved has been different class.”

Hignett has already tied three players to longer-term deals, keepers Trevor Carson and Adam Bartlett, midfielder Lewis Hawkins and teenage winger Jack Blackford.

Expect more in the coming days and weeks as the manager ties down the men he wants to take Pools forward.

“Getting new contracts to the lads is part of the process,” he said. “We have options with some and I’m working my way through the core of the squad now and who I want to keep.

“Trev is a big part of that, and Barts as well and they deserve new contracts.

“On the back of that, there’s a pathway for the young kids with Jack signing on and being involved on Saturday.

“We may see a few more in the next week put pen to paper and we are really starting to look to next season.”