Hartlepool United remain a National League "scalp" despite fifth tier struggles - Craig Hignett

Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett.
Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett.

Hartlepool United's on-field struggles and off-field uncertainty has done nothing to dent their reputation as a National League "scalp", according to Craig Hignett.

And while the manager admits it's a pressure that has proven difficult to shake, he wouldn't have it any other way.

What he would change, though, is his players' ability to deal with that weight on their shoulders.

"We are a bit of a scalp in this league - people look at us as one of the bigger clubs regardless of what we have or haven't got," said the manager.

"We get big crowds, have loads of season ticket holders, so people look at us as one of the bigger clubs.

"The players are confident they just need belief in what they are doing. Four or five wins would change that."

Pools saw their weekend fixture with Ebbsfleet United fall foul of the weather, with freezing conditions and snowfall making the surface unplayable and the ground surrounding the pitch unsafe.

It was a blow to Hignett & Co, who despite the home side's form, were keen to build on their own win, having seen off Braintree Town a week previous.

The manager is keen for Pools to start living up to their early season hype and hit the ground running next campaign.

Although, while the likes of Salford City and Leyton Orient have splashed the cash to get where they are this season, Hignett has reiterated the fact Pools must box clever because throwing cash at it is not on the agenda.

"If you look at the league table we aren't one of the bigger teams in this league. We have to get to the top of that pile," he said.

"We are not going to do it with money - we can't compete with some in this league.

"That is why recruitment is going to be so vital."