Craig Hignett planning more friendly run-outs for Hartlepool United following Carlisle United match that provided several selection headaches

Craig Hignett is delighted to have striker Nicke Kabamba fit and firing again following his hat-trick against Carlisle United on Tuesday.

Thursday, 12th September 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 12th September 2019, 11:45 am
Nicke Kabamba completes his hat-trick against Carlisle United (photo: Frank Reid).

The Hartlepool United boss now faces something of a selection headache ahead of Saturday’s trip to Dagenham & Redbridge as his side look to make it six National League matches unbeaten.

Hignett watched Pools sweep aside Carlisle in convincing fashion with Kabamba’s first half treble and a late strike from Gavan Holohan seeing them to a 4-0 victory at Victoria Park.

“It was great to see Nicke Kabamba get a hat-trick,” said the United manager.

“He hasn’t played much and struggled a bit with his ankle but that’s all right now and you could see at Barrow and then in the game the other day that he’s got the bit between his teeth and he wants to get back in the team.

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“The best way to do that is by scoring a hat-trick which gives me a real problem when it comes to picking the team for Saturday because Nicke certainly showed me he’s ready.”

Given the size of Hartlepool’s squad, Hignett will be looking to make midweek friendlies a fairly regular fixture over the season as he looks to keep his players match sharp.

“We’ll have to do these games regularly really,” he added.

“We’ve got such a good squad now with some lads who aren’t getting 90-minutes and I need them to be ready when I want them so we’ll have to keep them fit and sharp.

“The Carlisle match will be the first of a few and this was the first week we could do it really because of all the Saturday, Tuesday games that we’ve had.

“We’ve got a couple of Saturday, Tuesday’s coming up as well so we’ll have to pick our times where we can do it but the lads have got to play 90-minutes.

“You can’t replicate a proper 90-minute match in training, they need an extra bit and with Tuesday’s match being at The Vic, it felt like a proper game for them.

“It wasn’t like a reserve game, it was more just a continuation of what we’ve been doing in the first team.”