Craig Hignett provides update on Hartlepool loanee James Butler as he nears first team debut

James Butler featured against Hartlepool for Kidsgrove this  season
James Butler featured against Hartlepool for Kidsgrove this season

Craig Hignett has backed Hartlepool United loanee James Butler to stake a claim for a first team place.

Butler, who joined Pools on a work experience loan from Stoke City last month, is yet to make his first team bow for Pools.

Hignett, though, feels first team opportunities are not too far away for the 18-year-old - who caught the eye during the club’s Durham Challenge Cup triumph over Ryton & Crawcrook Albion.

The centre back played the full 90 minutes during the cup triumph and netted the all-important second goal during the 3-1 win courtesy of a towering header.

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Fellow loanees Marcus Dinanga also found the back of the net in the cup victory, but it was Butler who caught the eye of the caretaker manager.

“It’s great and they [the loanees] have all played their part,” said Hignett.

“They’ll be chomping at the bit to get in.

“I was pleased for James Butler actually, because it’s been the first game he’s played since he’s been at the club.

“For him to do that and score, it’ll do his confidence the world of good.

“We’re talking to James daily. He’s someone we’ve seen play against us in the cup and we really like the look him.

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“He warranted a look and the way he’s training, I’m sure it won’t be long before he gets some first team minutes.”

Butler has been on the bench for the first team in recent weeks, and could be again when Pools travel to Maidenhead on Saturday afternoon.

Hignett is expecting to have a similar squad available to that which faced Dagenham & Redbridge last weekend.

Andrew Davies and Luke Williams remain absent with long-term injuries.