Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United Entertainers: Craig Hignett brings attack approach to Hartlepool United

In the goals ... Billy Paynter
In the goals ... Billy Paynter

Craig Hignett is desperate to be a winner – but wants Hartlepool United to be ‘the Entertainers’.

Hignett takes Pools to Crawley Town tomorrow, looking to extend their unbeaten run to four matches AND add to their goal tally (kick-off 3pm).

The good thing is that it doesn’t matter if we go a goal behind now, the lads believe we can get back in it

CRAIG HIGNETT

Pools have scored 12 in the eight games since Hignett took the reins at Victoria Park.

It contrasts with 24 goals in the previous 26 matches when Pools held the unwanted ‘distinction’ of being League Two’s lowest scorers.

Hignett would not criticise former boss Ronnie Moore but said he was happy with how Pools are putting into place an attacking Kevin Keegan-like approach.

“Attacking football is the way I want to play,” he said.

“I want people to come and see an exciting team and if we have to win a game 4-3 or 4-2 then so be it.

“But listen, it’s horses for courses – I would not say anything derogatory about Ronnie, he’s got his way of playing and I’ve got mine.”

Pools are creating openings every game and, bar two goalless draws, taking them as well with Billy Paynter, Lewis Hawkins, Jake Gray and Nathan Thomas among those in the goals.

“We do look dangerous,” said Hignett. “The good thing is that it doesn’t matter if we go a goal behind now, the lads believe we can get back in it.

“If the Notts County game [a late 3-2 defeat] was now, we’d win that.

“We have the belief, an understanding of what we’re trying to do, we know we can score goals.

“I’ve told the players to go out, be positive, attack and enjoy themselves with the ball.

“They are, every one.

“Lewis Hawkins has been terrific since he came into the side, Jake Carroll too.

“But there isn’t anyone who is having a bad time, everyone is enjoying what they are doing.”

Pools were unfortunate not to find the net on Tuesday night at Newport where conditions at Rodney Parade hardly being conducive to good football.

But Hignett is looking to see his players carry on their ambitious approach.

“Some of the football we played in the first half was really good and on a better pitch we’d have been in,” he told SportMail.

“We had a penalty claim with Lewis Hawkins. He should really have gone down but he was doing everything he could to stay on his feet.

“But he was too honest.

“We had one or two bits and you think ‘we’re in here’ but the ball take a bobble or has not rolled.

“I could see why they have had so many 1-0s on that pitch – one goal would have won it on Tuesday night.

“I thought we coped with the conditions really well and was pleased to hear their manager say how good our football was.”

For all the enthusiasm to excite and try to score, Hignett says they have to be strong defensively.

“You have to be aware at what’s happening at the back,” he added. “If you are going to play open you need to be organised and switched on.”