Morale, the return of Kioso & Hawkes is back with a bang - FIVE positives to take from Hartlepool's weekend National League win

Three vital points, from a goal behind, on home turf.

Saturday, 26th January 2019, 5:31 pm
Updated Saturday, 26th January 2019, 5:38 pm
Josh Hawkes celebrates with Nicke Kabamba and Luke Molyneux after scoring to make it 2-1.

It was a surprisingly positive weekend for Hartlepool United on the field, after a topsy-turvy one off it.

Managerial changes, job swaps and red faces has been the order of the day at the Super 6 Stadium, overshadowing somewhat, the massive game which lay in wait at the weekend.

The win kept Pools three wins away from the bottom four, something they’ve been slipping closer and closer to since mid-September.

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More than that, though, even when Pools were a goal down at the break, the mood felt a whole lot more positive than before.

For Craig Hignett it was a welcome return to the dugout, and three points that kept Pools from looking over their shoulders, but what were the main positives to come from the 2-1 win?

Here our writer Liam Kennedy picks out FIVE key improvements Pools have already made under Hignett.


Morale was at an all-time low at Pools under Richard Money, there was a real crisis of confidence within the ranks.

That’s something Hignett seems to have nipped in the bud.

No matter the job, work is a lot easier to stomach when it’s enjoyable. And team’s who do not believe in what they are doing don’t come from behind to win games.

Hignett has lifted the mood and set a few of the key players free.


For whatever reason Money clearly did not fancy Peter Kioso.

It was a strange one really, given the defender has probably been the stand out of all of Pools’ signings from the summer.

At one point Money described Kioso as a winger or a striker bizarrely.

What he definitely is, is an athletic, strong and quick defender who can play anywhere across the backline. He’s raw, and has plenty to learn, but he’s got all the tools to be a star for years to come.


I was one of the first people to call for Ryan Donaldson to be switched to a more advanced role earlier this season.

When moved to the centre, though, the player doesn’t seem to have the biggest impact - bar for 45 minutes against Dover earlier this season.

It seems he gets an extra yard or two of space out wide to attack players and that suits him down to the ground. So maybe a step backwards - to the right of a midfield five - is just what the doctor ordered for the man Hignett made his skipper for the day on Saturday.


Nicke Kabamba, Luke Molyneux and Michael Raynes, with an honourable mention for Danny Amos, look like great finds for Pools.

Kabamba is a good, honest pro up top who can finish and gives a real focal point in attack.

Molyneux has speed and slight of movement which sees him beat players, something Pools haven’t got in their ranks.

And Raynes is the leader Pools have lacked since the exit of Andrew Davies to Dundee.


Josh Hawkes broke on the scene at Pools at the back end of last season, as Matthew Bates was earning his shot at the permanent role at the Super 6 Stadium.

Since the summer, though, he has not had the impact many thought.

His fitness has been questioned but his ability can never be.

He’s a player who will play in the Football League, but when that happens is really up to him.

Hignett certainly seems to trust the player and could get the best out of him in his favoured No 10 role.