Craig Hignett praises Hartlepool United goalkeeper Ben Killip and hails the impact of Middlesbrough loanee Zach Hemming and legend Dimi Konstantopoulos

After a shaky start, Hartlepool United goalkeeper Ben Killip has looked full of confidence in recent weeks.

Thursday, 5th September 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th September 2019, 6:00 pm
Ben Killip of Hartlepool United in action during the Vanarama National League match between Barrow and Hartlepool United at the Holker Street, Barrow-in-Furness on Tuesday 3rd September 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Pools’ impressive turnaround has unsurprisingly coincided with a up-turn in form for several players, including the England C international.

Killip made a string of good saves and confident claims as he helped keep a clean sheet in Tuesday night’s 1-0 win at Barrow – his third shutout of the campaign.

And Hartlepool manager Craig Hignett feels the 23-year-old is improving by the game.

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Dimi Konstantopoulos has been training with the Hartlepool United goalkeepers during the opening months of the season (photo: Frank Reid).

“For Ben it was a big jump from where he was to playing in front of our crowd with the size of club we are,” he said.

“It did take him a couple of games but now, you can see from the last four games that he’s been quality and that’s what we signed and saw in him, but there’s still room for improvement.

“At the moment he’s playing with more confidence than he had, his distribution is excellent and he made a few really good saves the other night against Barrow to keep us in it early on.

“Whilst he has got better, there’s no doubt about it, he’s a lot more confident and a lot more comfortable in his surroundings, that’s good for us and the back five.”

Along with the influence of Pools legend Dimi Konstantopoulos and goalkeeping coach Ross Turnbull, Hignett feels that it’s no coincidence that Killip started to kick-on following the loan signing of Zach Hemming from Middlesbrough to provide some much needed competition.

“Zach [Hemming] has come in and he’s a really good young goalkeeper and he’ll learn and they’ll push each other,” added the Pools boss.

“We’ve got Dimi training here which is good for those two to see as well. He’s 40 but the way he still puts himself through it and goes about stuff can only be a good thing for them.

“Ross [Turnbull] has worked really hard with them all, we’ve got a really good staff who are really thorough at their jobs and they’ll work with the players and make them better.

“It’s up to the players what they want to get out here because everything is here for them.”