New Hartlepool Utd duo have all bases covered on training field

Craig Hignett
Craig Hignett

CRAIG Hignett says he and Colin Cooper have “all bases covered” when it comes to the training field.

The new Hartlepool United management team will get down to work with their players in just over four weeks’ time.

Assistant boss Hignett, like Cooper, has graduated as a coach through Middlesbrough’s esteemed youth academy and both have won glowing accolades from their former players since their unveiling at Victoria Park.

As players the pair operated at opposite ends of the park, Cooper a cultured centre-back with a mindset to turn nasty when needed, Hignett a goalscoring-midfielder who netted more than 100 times during a 19-year career.

Both have already made clear their intention to work closely with the squad at Maiden Castle, and Hignett believes they will compliment one another well.

“It’s fair to say we should have all bases covered when it comes to the coaching,” the former Boro schemer told SportMail.

“Colin was obviously a top defender whereas I liked to get forward and get amongst the goals.

“But as coaches you learn to help every player and that is what we’re happiest doing, we love being out there working with players.

“And that is what we’ll do, we’ll be trying to get the very best out of the lads with our own ideas and way of approaching things.”

But it’s not just on the training pitch where Cooper and Hignett are well equipped.

“We’ve both got more than 25 years’ experience in the game,” he went on, “We know a lot of people in football between us.

“We’ve also probably watched every young kid across the North-East and even further afield through academy and reserve-team matches.

“We’ll be using all of those contacts and that knowledge to get this club going again.

“We know it won’t be easy but we’re both relishing the task and can’t wait to get started with the players.”

Meanwhile, Pools will travel nearly 10,000 miles next season to complete their fixtures in the League Two campaign.

The mileage for round trips has gone up just over 600 miles on 2012/13, though it hasn’t quite reached the heights of 2010/11 when the squad covered a record-breaking 10,500 miles.

Next season’s total – stadium to stadium, there and back – will be just over 9,725 miles (up from 9,114 last term), with fans set to spend plenty of time on the motorways following the team around the country.

The longest trip will be to Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park which is some 387.2 miles away from Victoria Park, while Exeter City is 344.9 miles and Portsmouth weighs in at 326.5 miles.

Fans will no doubt be looking forward to a league return to York City’s Bootham Crescent which – at just 58.1 miles – is the closest stadium in League Two to The Vic.

There will also be new grounds to tick off during the campaign, with Pools set to make their first-ever visits to AFC Wimbledon (278.8 miles), Burton Albion* (150.1 miles), Morecambe (124.8 miles) and Newport County* (279.8 miles). *Although Pools have played away at these clubs in the past, they are now playing at a different venue.