Hartlepool United v Salford City: National League rivals have 'frightening' budgets but Craig Hignett insists Pools can compete - and here's how
Craig Hignett admits some of the budgets of rival National League sides are ‘frightening’ - and says Hartlepool United have to box clever to compete with the division’s rich clubs.
As Pools’ season winds to a close with just today’s home game against Class of 92-backed Salford City to play, Hignett is looking forward to next season - and how to keep up with the leagues so-called big boys.
Evaluating the club’s chances next season, Hignett is looking at how he can improve the squad and build on this season’s lower half finish, with Pools currently 17th.
However, with several clubs spending big this season and into next season signing high profile players, Hignett is unsure about whether Pools can keep up.
Hignett said: “It’s frightening, there are teams in this league spending what teams in League One would spend, so to compete is difficult.
“The way we can compete is to make sure what we spend isn’t wasted and it’s going towards making us better, we’re not going to be able to compete with seven, eight, nine or ten teams maybe in this league but we can be clever about how we do it.
“If it’s only a couple of players here, two, three, four players in and then the next we build again, another two, three, eventually we are going to be better because the players we bring in will be better than the players that’ll leave the club.”
Pools host promotion-chasing Salford City at the Super 6 Stadium (KO 12.30pm).
Salford have a slim chance of winning the title should Leyton Orient lose to Braintree and Salford achieve a six-goal swing on goal difference.
Hignett added: “They’ll want to finish it properly for sure and seeing them lately, I've watched quite a few of their games, they’ll be a real tough test for us.
“We got a sense playing against Solihull a few weeks back what we are going to expect on Saturday, Salford are similar in that way, in that they are big strong powerful going forward, they’ll battle, scrap, fight, run and if you are not ready for it, your not prepared for it, you’ll get turned over and you’ll get turned over comfortably."
Hignett is demanding a big improvement from his Pools players following the disappointing 1-0 defeat at Barrow last time out.
“The lads will all know what to expect because we will have worked on it this week and they have to be up for it and the biggest thing for me is they have to put 100% in and come off the pitch absolutely shattered.
“If they don’t then they haven’t done their jobs properly and I won't be happy with that because the minimum I expect from them is they put 100% graft in every game.”
Given the performance at Barrow, Hignett was asked if he thought his players would be able to give 100% for the final game:
“I’d have said that last week before the game, I’ve just got to make sure they are focused on where they are because if they aren’t focused then they’ll get a doing and I don’t want that to happen, especially at the last home game.
“I want us to put on a good show so they’ll be made aware of that definitely before the game.”