Craig Hignett praise for Hartlepool United’s defence and midfield

Rob Jones (left) performed well in the win at Yeovil
Rob Jones (left) performed well in the win at Yeovil

Craig Hignett has selection dilemmas across the Hartlepool United team for tomorrow’s crucial showdown with Mansfield.

The Pools boss, potentially, has six defenders to fit into the back four, should Jake Carroll (hamstring) and Rob Jones (hip) come through fitness checks.

I have players who can come in and make a difference


Hignett has a wealth of options in midfield too if Michael Woods shakes off calf trouble while he has Nicky Deverdics available too in that area. He was happy with last week’s midfield trio of skipper Nicky Featherstone, Josh Laurent and Lewis Hawkins.

“Having players back gives us options,” said Hignett. “Lewis Hawkins and Josh were terrific last week – they are energetic, athletic, they get about the pitch but they have ability too.

“Coupled with Nicky, who’s a very good footballer, that went great,

“I have options – Woodsy missed last week, Nicky Deverdics is pushing and trained really well.

“I have players who can come in and make a difference.”

Hignett hopes to have Jones available though, if he is, that will present a difficult choice in defence.

The veteran had been part of a back three in the first half at Huish Park with Toto Nsiala and Scott Harrison with Hignett operating a 3-5-2 before changing to a 4-3-3 after the interval.

The Pools boss admitted he’d be reluctant to use 3-5-2 at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium but he is keen to have Jones available.

“Anything up the middle and in the box he’ll defend it, he’ll head it all day long,” said Hignett. “Rob did that but I thought they all defended really well.”

l There will be a collection for the Bradley Lowery fund at the Corner Flag Social Club ahead of omorrow’s game.