England call up Luke James faces battle to return to Hartlepool United starting XI - Craig Hignett

Craig Hignett has explained the decision to bench key frontman Luke James against Wrexham.

Monday, 25th March 2019, 4:52 pm
Updated Monday, 25th March 2019, 4:58 pm
Luke James in action earlier this season.

The striker was taken out of Pools' starting XI despite being one of the main protagonists in the club's recent end-of-season revival.

James' absence, bar a late cameo off the bench, mattered little to Hignett and Pools as they cruised to a 1-0 win over title-chasing Wrexham, with the points a whole lot more comfortable to attain than the result suggests.

And Hignett has lifted the lid on his call to take James out the firing line against the Dragons.

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"Luke isn't a player who coasts through games - that would have been his fifth game in two weeks," said Hignett of the player who played more than 70 minutes for England C v Wales C just four days previous.

"Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday can take its toll, so we decided to rest him.

"He has been non-stop - It would not have been fair to ask him to play, especially with the players we have chomping at the bit."

Hignett accepts he's now got a decision to make with Ryan Donaldson, Josh Hawkes, Luke Molyneux and Nicke Kabamba all impressing at the Super 6 Stadium from the off.

"It is hard to get in our team now," said Hignett.

"But the wide lads were excellent - we have options in that area.

"Josh Hawkes gets in good areas, Ryan Donaldson and Luke Molyneux are dangerous and Nicke Kabamba works his socks off.

"The back four were as solid as I have seen."