Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett drops team selection hint ahead of season opener

Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett faces a big team selection headache ahead of the opening game of the season against Sutton United.

Saturday, 3rd August 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Saturday, 3rd August 2019, 8:00 am
Craig Hignett admits team selection will be one of his toughest tasks as manager. Picture by Frank Reid

The Hartlepool manager previously mentioned having around 16 players in contention for a place in the starting XI for the big kick-off and admitted selecting his team will be one of the toughest things for him to manage this season.

Luke Molyneux (foot), Josh Hawkes (hamstring) and Ryan Donaldson (calf) are almost certain absentees while Luke Williams remains a doubt after sitting out training this week.

Myles Anderson (mouth) and Mark Kitching (back) have had restricted pre-seasons due to their respective injuries but are available for selection on Saturday.

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Despite the injury issues, competition in the side means there’s only one player in the squad who will be a guaranteed starter and that’s goalkeeper Ben Killip.

“We’ve never had a squad like this before and there will be six, seven or eight who aren’t in the 11 and will be disappointed and rightly so because some of the choices will be a toss of a coin really,” admitted Hignett.

“There’s been loads who have came back and performed above my expectations.

“Kenton Richardson has stood-out for me, he’s came back a different player, he looks quicker, stronger and more aggressive.

“I think it’s a good time to play [Sutton] and they’re probably thinking it’s a good time to play us because it’s the first game and you want to see what the league is like and feel what other teams are like, show your hand and see what you’ve got.

“I think we’ll go with a 4-3-3 but we’ll keep things flexible.”

Now with the new season just hours away, Hignett revealed that he has his Pools line-up prepared

“I do [know the starting line-up], it’s been in my mind for a couple of weeks,” he told the club website.

“There’s been a couple of headaches if I’m honest and people who will find themselves on the bench who should be playing but like I say, I’ve picked a team that I feel can go out and win the the game and hopefully be exciting and score a few goals at the same time.”