Craig Hignett wants Hartlepool United players to be brave and not be scared to make mistakes

Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett
Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett

Bravery, not always ability, is the difference between a top class player and one who plays in the lower leagues, according to Craig Hignett.

And the gaffer wants Hartlepool United’s squad to prove they are more Premier League than League Two.

Well, that is if they want to achieve their goal of a place in the fourth tier play-offs this season.

“We still do go into our shells when we make mistakes. Some do anyway,” Hignett said of his players, who again let a home lead slip to draw 1-1 with Crawley Town at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium on Saturday.

“That is what separates players who play in the Premier League and players who play in the Championship with some of our players at this level.

“It is fine margins in this game and a bit of belief.

“The player I want is someone who doesn’t care if they’ve made a mistake.

“Not one who doesn’t want it when the crowd are getting on their back.

“I never have a go at anyone for making a mistake. They know that too. So they shouldn’t bother about it.”

Pools have a relatively young, fresh squad.

So with the youthful exuberance, excitement and attacking abandon, which has been curbed in recent weeks somewhat, comes inexperience.

And while Hignett can see plenty of positive signs from his side, he still thinks they lack the right mentality, which can often come with age, to make sure they pick up victories both at home and on the road, whether they are playing well or not.

“It is frustrating,” said the gaffer, who will serve the second game of a three match touchline ban against Carlisle this weekend.

“We know we are close to those teams at the top but we are 13th in the table. Our position doesn’t reflect that at all.

“Top sides go to places expecting to win. Whereas we go not expecting to or thinking we can.

“It is a different mindset I suppose.

“It has changed but it is slowly, slowly with us.

“At least we are not flaky anymore.”