Luke Williams' impending Hartlepool United return 'excites' boss Craig Hignett as midfielder trains with first-team
Craig Hignett is backing Luke Williams to return to first-team football looking every bit as good as before, as he nears the end of his Hartlepool United injury lay off.
Williams has been desperately unlucky since arriving at the club, with a virus forcing him to pull out of his potential second debut before a knee problem, which has required two operations all but ended his return campaign at the Super 6 Stadium.
But all is not lost for Williams and Hignett.
Williams is edging closer to fitness and having worked through his first week back with the group, Hignett expects the player to get another week under his belt, possibly a behind-closed-doors friendly and then he will be ready for selection.
And Hignett has already seen flashes of the old Luke Williams.
"He's been training with us for the last week he just needs games, he needs to get a bit of confidence in his knee," said the manager.
"Hes trained really well, it's not caused him a problem he hasn't felt anything after training. Hopefully he can get through next week as well and then we’ll see where we are next week.
"He has been out a season and a half and it was a freak thing that happened with the knee, then the op not being a success. It has been setback after setback for him.
"He has looked really good in training but we cannot just throw him in. He will have to feel himself in, get confidence then hopefully by the end of the season we will see him play games.
"He is an existing one for everyone. It's exciting to have him back."
Williams was not part of a Hartlepool XI which travelled to the Academy of Light to take on Sunderland's first-team as a warm up for the Black Cats' Checkatrade Trophy final game at Wembley against Portsmouth next week.
That, though, was not a concern for the player or his manager.
Hignett continued: "He will be ready to (play in a friendly) by next week so if we can organise a game in time and he can get in one game before he's ready, but like I say he's been training really hard and looks just like Luke in training.
"I don't think there's any cobwebs there."