Craig Hignett wants more from Nathan Thomas after star’s emotional week

Nathan Thomas celebrates his goal
Nathan Thomas celebrates his goal

Craig Hignett will be looking for more big performances from Nathan Thomas – starting with tomorrow night’s big match against Accrington Stanley.

Thomas set Hartlepool United on the way to a 2-1 victory over York City on Saturday when he scored his fifth goal since his transfer-window move from Mansfield town for an undisclosed fee.

The 21-year-old, not for the first time in blue colours, led the opposition defence a merry dance, while his skill drew a bovine challenge from defender Dave Winfield who was sent off for a second yellow card.

And Hignett is after more from the man with the magic left foot who was subbed with 21 minutes to go.

“Nath got a battering again,” said the manager.

“He went by them well, got a goal and was a real menace and I want him to do that for 90 minutes – 45 isn’t enough.

“Nath’s got so much ability.”

Thomas picked up a yellow card himself after removing his shirt when celebrating his goal.

It was for a good reason – underneath his Pools jersey was a T-shirt with ‘RIP granda’ to pay tribute to his beloved grandfather who died last week.

Hignett said: “It’s been a tough week for Nathan, but I’m delighted he scored and understand his celebration.”

Given Thomas has been suffering from a chest complaint and then had the emotion of the loss of a loved one, it was perhaps no surprise he made an early exit after feeling a bit of cramp.

But Hignett will expect him up for the visit of promotion-chasers Accrington to the Vic.

So too will be the match-winner, Michael Woods.

The midfielder has gone much of the season with only one goal to his name, ironically at York back in August, though now he has scored on successive Saturdays.

Both have been good finishes, his first-time shot at Morecambe put Pools en-route to a 5-2 romp, while the neat close-range header against York maintained the unbeaten five-match home run.

“Woodsy scored a great goal,” said Hignett.

“Carl Magnay has whipped it in and Woodsy’s got across the front of the defender and headed in – really well taken.

“I’ve been delighted for him, he’s put in shifts and been rewarded with two goals in three games.”

The most satisfying thing for Hignett was the fact the goal came at the end of a sustained passing move.

He was irked at Notts County last Tuesday that the side had “gone long” and not moved the ball to feet.

“It’s hard for the crowd,” said Hignett. “They want us to score every time we get the ball.

“I want to pass teams off the park and make them chase the ball.

“We played some good stuff and it’s the way of playing I want.

“Let the picture change in front of you, move the opposition and the quicker you switch it against 10 men the harder it will be for them and things will open up.

“I want to change the culture here, change the way of thinking - not bash it up front, be a football side.”