Hartlepool boss Craig Hignett hails players

Craig Hignett
Craig Hignett

Craig Hignett looks like being a leading contender when the manager of the month nominations are announced.

The Hartlepool United boss transformed the side’s fortunes with a dream run of four wins and two draws in March, and April has begun in equally-impressive fashion following a 2-1 victory over Mansfield Town.

I’m over the moon with the lads.

And the rookie manager has lauded his players for taking the ‘Hignett Plan’ onto the field and delivered results.

“I’m over the moon with the lads, my start in mangement could not have been any better really,” he said. “That’s all down to the lads and what we’re trying to do.

“That’s brilliant to see and rewarding for me to know that my ideas are working.

“I was always confident they would but actually seeing them work is fabulous.”

Two coolly-taken Billy Paynter penalties edged out the Stags in a tough tussle and the victory not only moved Pools 16 points above the Football League trapdoor but took them to within two points of 16th-placed Crawley.

Should Pools win another of their games in hand, at Carlisle tomorrow night, then they would leapfrog the Red Devils and still have a spare match. Hignett said: “We’ll go there with the same mindset and try to win the game and keep the run going.

“While we are on this run, let’s see how far we can take it.

“I want everything now geared to next season.

“I have my eye on Crawley, and Barnet, we’re not too far away from them.

“Luton on 53 points? That might be a bridge too far. We only have one game in hand on them.

“Mansfield have 53 and we have two matches on them.

“But let’s just look at the next one, see if we can catch them, then if we do, I’ll look at the next one.”

Pools will be going into tomorrow night’s trip to Brunton Park and every game with a high degree of confidence.

Saturday was not pretty, but Pools got the job done.

“We were put under pressure, Mansfield went for it and full credit to the lads for the way we dug in,” said Hignett.

“It didn’t feel like a win – I like to win games well and we didn’t on Saturday.

“After going 1-0 up, we hit a post and had chances against 10 men.

“If any had gone in, they may have thrown the towel in. but credit to them, they put us under real pressure, had a go and we didn’t get going second half.

“But we didn’t crumble, we went again, got another penalty and won the game.

“We weren’t at our best and it should be a boost for the lads to win a game without being at their best.”