Trevor Carson says the Craig Hignett factor is bringing the best out of the Hartlepool United squad - especially Jake Carroll.
The revitalised left-back has been in cracking form throughout 2016, but Carson believes the impact made by Hignett has made him even better.
The new manager has come in and put his faith in him and Jake has gone from strength to strengthTrevor Carson
Carroll, ironically, was dropped by Hignett after his arrival as Ronnie Moore’s successor.
But after missing the first two games of the new manager’s reign, Carroll has proven the star performer and was superb in Tuesday night’s goalless draw at Newport County.
And Carson is adamant that the former Republic of Ireland youth international should be destined for greater things.
“Jake should not be playing at this level with the ability he’s got,” said the Northern Ireland keeper.
“He has every attribute to be playing higher up.
“I suppose football’s a confidence game, no matter what level you are playing at.
“Jake’s game, possibly since we played Derby in the FA Cup, has really picked up.
“His form seemed to change after that, the new manager has come in and put his faith in him and Jake has gone from strength to strength.
“Jake’s a great lad and him playing so well is brilliant for the team.”
And Carson believes that that Hignett’s influence is stretching further than the left-back position.
The 28-year-old told SportMail that the manager, and first-team coach, Curtis Fleming, are weaving their magic over the squad.
“It’s great for us, we are being coached by a fantastic manager and assistant in Flem,” said the ex-Sunderland stopper who will be looking to stretch the unbeaten run to four games at Crawley on Saturday.
“We are quite a young side but we are learning every day, it’s great.
“It all bodes well moving forward.
“Take away the Bristol Rovers game and it’s been good over the last few weeks.
“Look at the Northampton match - to more than hold our own against a team which had won 10 in a row was fantastic.
“We had a good base to kick on but we followed that up by losing at Bristol Rovers.
“But since we won at Barnet it has clicked.
“We made it back-to-back wins against Dagenham and then to go to a tough place like Newport and get a clean sheet was a great result.
“We’ll now look to take it into Crawley and go there and get the win.”