Hartlepool United ace to make a ‘big impact’ this season

Craig Hignett
Craig Hignett

Craig Hignett is confident Lewis Alessandra will make a “big impact” for Hartlepool United.

The Pools boss made the 26-year-old his fourth signing of the summer, acquiring the versatile attacking ace on a free transfer, from Rochdale.

Lewis is a good player who will make a big impact for us this season, I felt he was a real handful

Lewis is a good player who will make a big impact for us this season. I felt he was a real handful

While the first three signings, Padraig Amond, Nicky Deverdics and Toto Nsiala, all looked notable coups, Alessandra has been the pick of the quartet to date.

And he will be one of the first names on Hignett’s team sheet for tonight’s League Two trip to Crewe Alexandra.

Alessandra got an assist the Pools equaliser at Exeter on Saturday for Michael Woods as Hignett’s side came from 1-0 down to win 2-1 at James’s Park.

Late on, he beat the left-back all ends up to create another chance, only to see Pools sub, Rhys Oates, get in the way of the shot from Nathan Thomas.

Hignett is very impressed with the highly-skilled Mancunian.

“Lewis is a player who will make a big impact for us this season. I felt he was a real handful,” he said.

“Lewis was direct and very positive [on Saturday].

“As the game goes on, you grow in confidence and suss out the player you are up against.

“Good players do that and Lewis is a good player, no doubt.”

Alessandra is likely to be picked on the right side of midfield this evening at Gresty Road, a position he excelled in on Saturday, having been on the right of match-winner Billy Paynter in a three-pronged frontline in the first period.

With Thomas on the left, Hignett will hope he has the supply line for Paynter and Padraig Amond up front.

They looked good as a pairing against the Grecians, Amond showing presence of mind to let Carl Magnay’s cross run through to the skipper to firre in the 75th-minute winner.

Amond was repaying a favour after Paynter had set him up superbly in the opening seconds of the second half, having come on at the break.

Hignett felt for the Irish striker that his shot finished inches the wrong side of the keeper’s left-hand upright.

“Podge had that chance seconds into the second-half,” said the manager.

“He could have scored but pushed it just wide.

“Podge scores them all day in training – maybe he was caught a bit cold as it was his first 20 seconds on the pitch.

“But I was really pleased with him – he works his socks off and I have no doubt the goals will come.”

Hignett feels all of his offensive players are looking in good nick ahead of a key match against a side who are also unbeaten on four points.

“Nathan and Lewis out on the wings are causing defenders problems and Billy has real experience.

“He’s an old head and does really well for us, scoring two goals already, and Podge has goals in him.

“I’m confident I’ve got goals up front and that’s before talking about midfielders, like Woodsy chipping in.”