Craig Hignett: Returning stars may find it tough to get back in Hartlepool United starting XI

Scott Harrison.
Scott Harrison.

Craig Hignett reckons Hartlepool United’s returning defenders will find it tough to displace in-form Scott Harrison and Toto Nsiala.

The duo were again impressive as Pools drew at home yet again on Saturday, this time throwing away a one-goal lead against Crawley Town.

DR Congo international Nsiala put in a man of the match display, underlining his growing reputation as one of the stand out defenders in the division.

And Harrison was Pools’ late hero, putting in a point-saving, goal preventing tackle to deny James Collins a winner in added time.

Hignett was full of praise for his thrown together pairing.

And although the likes of in-form Liam Donnelly – away with Northern Ireland U/21s – and experienced pair Matthew Bates and Rob Jones, both out injured, could soon be available for selection, Hignett reckons it will be tough for him to take either out of the Pools starting XI ahead of the trip to Carlisle United this weekend.

“Toto and Scott at the back were top class at the weekend,” said Hignett.

“They really did keep their concentration throughout.

“Toto wasn’t feeling well, but he did not show it in the game, he was excellent.

“He could have scored at the other end, but couldn’t direct it on target.

“They are both playing well at the moment. They have stood up and been counted, like other players, when called upon.”

Meanwhile, kid Josh Nearney has had his loan spell at Whitley Bay extended.

The Pools youngster will remain on loan with EBAC Northern League Division One outfit Whitley Bay for a further month.

The defender joined The Seahorses at the start of last month. He will stay at Hillheads Park until after their game with West Auckland on Saturday, November 5.

Nearney has made eight appearances with The Bay since his temporary switch from the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

He is currently recovering from a facial injury suffered in Saturday’s win over Washington at the weekend.

The 21-year-old will be assessed by Pools’ medical staff this week. Although, the injury is not thought to be serious.