Craig Hignett wants points and plaudits from Hartlepool United’s match at Newport County

Hartlepool United 3-1 Dagenham and Redbridge League2. Picture by FRANK REID
Hartlepool United 3-1 Dagenham and Redbridge League2. Picture by FRANK REID

Craig Hignett believes Hartlepool United are getting better by the week – but that will not stop him demanding more.

The new Pools boss takes his side to Newport County tonight thrilled by the way his side have “turned a corner”.

I’m a perfectionist, I want to win AND play well

CRAIG HIGNETT

Pools are no longer League Two’s lowest scorers following back-to-back 3-1 wins over Barnet and Dagenham & Redbridge.

And victory tonight at Rodney Parade can move them within three points of the South Wales club, who are 18th.

Hignett says he now wants to see points and polish from his team.

“I’m a perfectionist, I want to win AND play well,” he said.

“We’ve put in two really good performances, won 3-1 both times, I think that sends a message out to everyone else.

“We’ve turned a corner and we’re a side to be reckoned with.

“It’s pleasing to see the goals flowing.

“The lads should be full of confidence after two 3-1 wins on the spin.

“The challenge for the players now is to keep that level of performance up and keep the wins coming.

“Don’t just win two, win three, win four, win five.

“Before you know it you are not looking down there, you are looking to see how high up you can get.”

If it appears Hignett is getting greedy – he is.

Pools have gone 3-1 in their last two matches and still had half an hour or left, but not gone on to score more.

Doubtless, if Hignett was offered a 1-0 win at Newport this evening he would gladly take it.

But he admits it is not unfair to look for more when they have got themselves into such commanding positions.

“It’s not harsh, I want us to be ruthless,” he told SportMail, “I don’t want us to settle at 3-1.

“I want the lads to go on and score a fourth and a fifth.”

A goal glut may not be feasible at Rodney Parade – County have won their last three home fixtures 1-0.

“It will be a tough game, especially on their pitch, it’s like a beach,” said Hignett.

“We might have to change the way we play a little bit.”

With the pitch not conducive to flowing football, Pools may have to be a little more direct than Hignett would prefer – not that he was willing to give away his tactics.

“More direct? That’s for me to decide,” said the boss.

Hignett is likely to pick the same starting XI for the third game on the spin, providing veteran defender Rob Jones is fit following a bang to the head in the win over Dagenham.

If the 36-year-old is ruled out, Adam Jackson will start alongside Matthew Bates.

Pools (probable): Carson, Magnay, Bates, R Jones, Carroll, Featherstone, Gray, Hawkins, Thomas, Paynter, James.

Subs (from): Bartlett, Richards, Jackson, Harrison, Walker, Bingham, Oates, Woods