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Talent is not the problem at Pools, it’s a character issue - Craig Hignett

Matthew Bates and Craig Hignett.
Matthew Bates and Craig Hignett.

Director of Football Craig Hignett believes Hartlepool United have the talent in their ranks to thrive in the National League.

But he thinks one or two need guidance from more experienced characters, which he is trying to add to Matthew Bates’ Pools squad.

“We have some really good players here but they are going to need guiding,” said Hignett of the current crop at Victoria Park.

“If we get the right people in to guide them then we’re going to have an exciting team.

“You have to treat people properly for a start, like getting paid on time, if you do that then players haven’t got a grumble, they can go out and play.

“On top of that you have to find the right characters.”

Hignett and Bates have been inundated with offers of players from agents and clubs looking to offload.

It has been a frantic few weeks at the pair’s transfer hub, in their shared office, at the Vic.

Talks are ongoing with a number of potential signings, some are more advanced than others.

The likes of Andrew Davies, Scott Barrow, Danny Johnson, Neal Bishop and a whole host of loan options have been mentioned in dispatches.

Incomings, the amount of, will depend largely on those who can be shifted out the door.

All of those listed by the club as available for transfer are not necessarily keen to leave. In fact, the club would not be disappointed if one or two of those mentioned remained. It is more about trying to recoup fees for players who have value, as well as shifting some dead wood.

Wanting a fee, or rid of wages off the books, is one thing, getting it is another thing altogether. And that is something Pools are finding out this summer.

But, while progress is slow, at this stage, work continues behind the scenes to make sure Bates has the strongest possible squad to improve on last season’s 15th place finish in the fifth tier.

Meanwhile, Hignett has revealed Raj Singh, and all of those behind the scenes at Pools are grafting to build “a proper football club” again.

“I didn’t know the full extent of things when I came in and I was in on the takeover from day one,” he said of the mess behind the scenes.

“We have a clear picture and we’ve dealt with it all.

“There are a few little bits and bobs to tie up but when they’re done we can get on with he job of building a proper football club.

“Fans want to see a winning team and that’s understandable, I think there have been reasons why there hasn’t been that recently.”