Hartlepool United have team to compete in League Two says Craig Hignett

Lewis Alessandra on the attack for Pools against Sunderland. Picture by JOE SPENCE
Lewis Alessandra on the attack for Pools against Sunderland. Picture by JOE SPENCE

Craig Hignett says it’s “all positive” at Hartlepool United as he builds his squad towards the new season.

The Pools boss was satisfied with the first home friendly of the summer programme last night when his side were beaten 3-0 at home by a Jermain Defoe-inspired Sunderland.

I know they will compete because I’ve seen what they can produce


The striker scored twice for the Black Cats in a 15-minute purple patch at Victoria Park and had an assist for the other away goal, from Wahbi Khazri.

After being outplayed by a near first-choice first-half formation sent out by Sam Allardyce, Pools were much ore competitive after the interval when Sunderland changed their entire side.

And Hignett is looking forward to the forthcoming friendlies – starting with Saturday’s trip to Livingston – and believes he has the squad to make an impact in League Two.

“It’s all positive for me,” said Hignett.

“Between the two sides I put out in each half I think I have an XI that will compete.

“I know they will compete because I’ve seen what they can produce.

“I was fairly pleased with what I saw last night – I would have liked to have scored a goal or two and we’ve hit the woodwork a couple of times.

“But it’s early days and there is a lot of football to come before the season starts.

“We have a game at Livingston on Saturday and we have two games on Tuesday – I will be sending teams to Seaham and Guisborough.

“All these games are designed to get us ready for the start of the season.

“When the whistle goes against Colchester, everyone should be ready and raring to go.”

Pools had begun confidently last night against an all-star Sunderland.

But they were undone by Defoe, who set the ball rolling when he stole the ball from Toto Nsiala before beating Trevor Carson.

Far from being downhearted, Hignett said he wants hard tests for his players rather than strolls in the park.

“We held our own for 10 minutes, we were knocking the ball around all right,” said the manager who sent out all four of his new signings, Padraig Amond, Lewis Alessandra, Nicky Deverdics and Nsiala.

“It was a bit of a mistake by Toto for the first goal.

“But at that level against players like Jermain Defoe you will get punished and that’s what happened.

“He was the difference. He was sharper and the movement was so good.

“But I want a pre-season game like that. I don’t want it static or easy, I want to play against people like that.

“The first half? While we were 3-0 down I wasn’t disappointed.

“I was reasonably pleased with how we moved the ball around, especially in midfield.

“There are bits to work on, like Podge [Amond] was a bit isolated at times.

“But on the whole there were things I was realy pleased with.

“That was only our second game and we are trying to integrate the new lads, but I’ve seen a lot I can be pleased with.”