Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett names the FIVE teams he expects to challenge for the National League title – includes AFC Fylde, Chesterfield, Wrexham

Craig Hignett hopes his Hartlepool United side will be involved at the right end of the table this season as he predicts an ‘open’ contest for promotion.

By Dominic Scurr
Tuesday, 13 August, 2019, 11:45
Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett. Picture by Frank Reid

The first three matches won’t give too much away though pre-season favourites Notts County and Chesterfield being in the relegation zone has come as something of a surprise.

Pools’ Tuesday night opponents AFC Fylde will make the trip to Victoria Park on the back of an unbeaten start to the campaign that sees them sitting fourth in the table.

And Hignett feels last season’s play-off finalists will challenge once again as he plots to thwart their impressive start and build on Hartlepool’s 1-0 win at Maidenhead.

“They don’t come much tougher than Fylde, I expect them to be up there come the end of the season because they’ve got some really good players,” he said.

“They’ll be a real test for us so we’ll have to be on our game but hopefully the [Maidenhead] result will give us the confidence we need to go into that one and pick up another win.

“This league is so tough, to win a game, the margins between the best teams and the teams down the bottom are very small so you’ve got to be consistent.”

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The United manager also listed The Coasters as one of five potential challengers for promotion in what is a very competitive National League.

“It’s going to be a bit more open this season I would think,” Hignett said.

“But the teams with the big budgets that should be up there. I know Wrexham have spent again, Fylde have obviously had a go, Harrogate have added to their squad, Chesterfield too, so it’s those sort of teams.

“I think Solihull will be up there again because they’ve made some good signings and they were a really big and physical side to play against and they’re looking even stronger this season.

“But it’s hard to say who will challenge for promotion because there’s always one team who come from nowhere.

“It’s a competitive league and you just hope we’re in the mix come the end of the season.”