Hartlepool United could target part-time players in revolutionary Craig Hignett-driven recruitment plan
Hartlepool United are exploring the idea of signing the best part-time players in North East football and incorporating them into a full-time setup.
Manager Craig Hignett admits he is thinking outside the box when it comes to player recruitment for the summer.
The Pools boss thinks the club are missing out on recruiting the best talent in the region by simply offering full-time deals to players, with the likes of Spennymoor Town, South Shields and Blyth Spartans able to offer better terms.
And Hignett is working on a plan where Pools can be a viable option for players unable to commit to morning training, day-in, day-out.
"At the start of the season I looked at it, there must be a way of integrating the best part-time players into a full-time setup. How it works I do not know. We have talked about it," said Hignett. whose side travel to Sutton United in the National League today.
"Can we change training days to training nights, things like that, so we get the best lads with jobs?
"Sometimes we do not get the better players from this area because they have got jobs. They are getting good wages off a club like a Spennymoor or a South Shields. Realistically, we can't compete for people who have got jobs and play for these level of clubs.
"That might be a route we look at. Whether we go down it is another thing."
Hignett has drawn on his experience of trying to sign players from the region during his spell at the club as the catalyst for this revolutionary idea.
"I mentioned it in the summer. It was something I thought about the last time I was here and we were in the league," he said.
"We couldn't offer players the same as they were getting with a job.
"What players would give up a full-time salary with a job for a year as a professional footballer? Even when we were in the league players would not do it.
"Now we are at this level we have the chance to create something different, where we could integrate them.
"You could not have a lot of them, they would have to be the very best of the part-time players.
"The best part-time players in this area are better than the worst full-time ones.
"It is a tough one - but it is something I am convinced can be done."
The search for reinforcements will not be limited to the part-time scene, nor will it be focused solely within the North East.
"We are looking at players who can play men's football," said Hignett.
"Any player at any level that can play men's football is under consideration.
"We will be targeting players who want to play full-time, dropping from above because we are one the bigger teams at this level."