Hartlepool United’s strength in depth pleases Craig Hignett

Craig Hignett
Craig Hignett

Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett reckons his squad have proven they’ve got strength in numbers.

The Pools setup has been stretched to the limit in recent weeks with injury, international call ups and suspension all having a negative impact on the options at Hignett’s disposal at first-team level.

Liam Donnelly was used in four separate positions before he got his Northern Ireland U/21 call, while Trevor Carson has also missed the last two while on international duty.

Scott Harrison, Toto Nsiala and Nicky Featherstone have all been forced to sit out, or numerous games, due to red and yellow worthy indiscretions while injury has seen the likes of Michael Woods, Matthew Bates and Rob Jones miss huge chunks of action this season.

Those kind of numbers of the sidelines would hit any squad hard, never mind one in League Two, and the size of Pools’.

But Hignett believes every player he has had to call in from the fringes of Pools squad has done themselves proud.

And he says it just goes to prove what strength in depth he has at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

“The players that have had to come in have handled themselves well,” said Hignett.

“They haven’t really had an impact on our performance. Not in a bad way, anyway, it’s all been positive.

“All in all it has been a positive run of results lately because we have had to make changes.

“We missed Trev and Liam Donnelly, as well as others, but we have coped with it well again.

The gaffer revealed that the squad was down to the bare bones prior to the Crawley draw at the weekend, with Nsiala rated as doubtful in the run up to the game.

He continued: “We are down to the bare bones in some areas. Defence is one.

“If Toto, who wasn’t very well, hadn’t have played Ben Pollock would have played.

“He hasn’t been well but he was magnificent.

“I like to think I have some depth in this squad.

“We still have the likes of Bates and Jones to come back, too. And we have a lot of other players missing.

“It is all positive for me as manager and for the club.”