Raj Singh outlines his ambitious Hartlepool United target for next season as he vows to back Craig Hignett in the transfer market

Hartlepool United chairman Raj Singh says he will continue to back Craig Hignett in the transfer market.
Hartlepool United chairman Raj Singh says he will continue to back Craig Hignett in the transfer market.

Hartlepool United chairman Raj Singh expects Craig Hignett mount a credible promotion challenge next season after a campaign of "consolidation".

Pools are back in the top half of the National League table for the first time in a while, occupying 12th position in the fifth tier standings.

But they remain 14 points off the top seven, which makes a play-off push almost impossible with just 27 points left to play for this campaign.

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Chairman Singh accepts this has been a season of change and was always set to be one to consolidate.

He does, though, want next season to be very different.

Speaking to matchday programme The Blue Print, he said: "Let me make it clear, promotion has to be the aim next season.

"After consolidation during the current campaign, allied with a lot of changes on and off the pitch, we want to keep winning games but we also need to start planning - so it's all about bringing players to the club."

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Pools have added three players to their ranks in recent weeks with the capture of Fraser Kerr from Gateshead - for a fee believed to be in the region of £4,000 - as well as David Edgar and Gavan Holohan on shorter deals to the end of the season.

And Singh has no worries if the manager wants him to dip into his pocked again - if it is in the best interests of the club.

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"In that respect, I was really pleased that we were able to get the Fraser Kerr deal over the line while I was away because he was one of the players at the top of Craig's list of targets.

"We could probably have waited until the summer to get that sorted but I think it's worth paying the fee to get him into the squad now and give him time to adapt and settle in.

"We've also managed to complete deals to bring David Edgar and Gavan Holohan in and they're both done with next season in mind as well.

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"We'll keep chipping away at our list of targets and see what business we can do. Then hopefully we won't have to bring in nine or ten new players during the summer like we did last year.

"I hope the fans are encouraged by our actions on that front."