Craig Hignett talks referee decisions, injuries and near misses after Leyton Orient draw

Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett, whose side have picked up four points in their last two games.
Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett, whose side have picked up four points in their last two games.

Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett expects duo Myles Anderson and Luke Molyneux to be FIT next weekend, despite suffering what looked like horror injuries.

Molyneux came off just before the break with a severely gashed knee, while Anderson was rushed to hospital after having some teeth knocked out in the 1-1 draw with Leyton Orient at the Super 6 Stadium.

And despite the knocks, Hignett is hopeful the duo will not miss a kick, with the injuries being more superficial rather than seeing the players suffer lasting damage.

The manager, whose side take on Boreham Wood at the weekend, said: "Myles lost a few teeth and it looked nasty, while Luke needed a cut on his knee gluing together.

"They will be sore, but will settle down."

Some big decisions did not go Pools' way on the day, with Anderson's the icing on the cake.

Hignett feels like his side could have been awarded at least three penalties on the day, but he was happy with his players' performance either way.

Although, he's admitted that Liam Noble, who missed a spot-kick on the hour, his third miss of the season, will no longer be on penalty duty.

"It was a breathless game. They are a good side and I knew we would have to be at our maximum to cope with them. But I’m a little disappointed we didn’t win it – a penalty the keeper saved," said Hignett.

"Liam is off penalties now. Josh took the last one and scored, Liam is his own man and I wouldn’t knock anyone for taking a penalty. It takes bottle to take them. He hit the target. I will make him better at penalties.

"He came on and had an effect on the game, we have missed him when he’s been injured. It’s a headache for me to fit all these players in the team."

On his side's performance, Hignett added: "Organisation, defensively, attacking it was pretty close to what I want our performances to be here.

"I would like a bit more quality in the final third, more crosses, shots and balls in the box, but that’s just me. We aren’t there where I wasn’t us to be yet, but we are progressing.

"At the back, I think it’s the easiest part to coach, but I can’t neglect it. Lads are willing to put bodies on the line and win second balls. We played football when we could, played longer when we had to and defended well – the mix was really good.

"It’s encouraging for me, there’s a group of players who listen and do that you want from them. You can see how we are trying to play, what we want to be, and they have bought into it. The way we are trying to play suits the players.

“For the two weeks I’ve had them I can see signs of improvement and a team spirit developing. It’s not just the 11 who start, but the lads on the bench and in the squad have been brilliant in playing their part with encouraging."

Nicke Kabamba grabbed his third goal in three starts for Pools, and Hignett admits he's been impressed by much more than the striker's goals since his arrival on loan from Havant.

"Nicke I can’t ask any more," said the manager.

"His workrate is fantastic and he’s got three in three. He works hard, is a good character – the sort you want at the club – and I’m so pleased for him."

Aaron Cunningham, who came off the bench, was another player who came in for praise from the boss.

“Aaron came on and won a massive header, a tackle in there and he’s worked hard without having a chance," said Hignett.

"He has had to be patient but now he might get more of a chance."

Beating Braintree and a draw with top-of-the-table Orient is a decent return for Pools, who jumped up to 13th in the table with the result.

Hignett believes his players have set their own standard now, something they must carry on hitting between now and the end of the campaign.

"They have set their own standards, set the level they can’t dip below and improve from," he said.

"A lot of it was down to hard work and graft and we have more quality than we have showed today.

"We had two weeks off and I feel we would have played that way at Ebbsfleet, but the break hasn’t affected us too much. We were positive and it felt like a proper game of football. They are no mugs and will probably end up being promoted this season.

“Braintree beat Salford today and it shows what this division is like, teams have quality and you could see today the quality Orient have.

“Players like playing games, not training. We have to consider the travelling between games to keep them fresh and we work on that now."

On transfers Pools are working behind the scenes on deals but nothing is imminent, according to Hignett.

“Identifying players is easy, but it’s hard to get players in at this stage of the season," he said.

"We keep working behind the scenes and if we can do it then great, if not then we work with them. The players here are playing for their futures and responding."