'We want them to express themselves, attack' - Ged McNamee on Craig Hignett bringing back the excitement back at Hartlepool United

Ged McNamee, Hartlepool United's first-team coach.
Ged McNamee, Hartlepool United's first-team coach.

Craig Hignett has brought excitement back to Hartlepool United - that’s the view of assistant boss Ged McNamee.

Pools were criticised earlier in the season, and last, for not creating or scoring many goals.

But under Hignett, Pools look transformed - not only are they scoring goals and creating chances, they’re also playing an exciting brand of football.

McNamee says that approach is here to stay.

“Over the last few games, some play has been exciting for the fans and we want them to express themselves and attack,” said the former Sunderland academy coach, whose side play Barnet (a) on Saturday.

“We changed system from the start on Tuesday to a back four from a three. We looked at games when we have been behind and scored goals when we changed system without conceding.

“Sometimes it’s about being more attack-minded too.

“There’s a new group here, a couple of new defenders playing together and it takes time to know each other.

“There are some young players in the team and they play with a freedom, but it can be frustrating when their inexperience shows in making the wrong decision.”

While attacking football has returned, it’s come a little too late for a play off push.

Pools are 14 points from the top seven with just eight games left to play.

“We have just got to keep taking it every game as it comes,” he said.

“I think people who have not experienced football at this level do not realise just how tough it is.

“We just want to keep putting in good performances and see how much we can progress in this league.

“There’s a need this season to finish as well and as high as we can. Go out and be professional about it. We can’t be complacent at all and keep picking up points.

“We can’t let standards slip. Look at the midweek results, you realise the bottom teams can beat top teams.

“From our point of view it’s about staying focused and putting in performances. Some lads are out of contract and going out there in some respects to prove they should be here next season.”

Reflecting back on the midweek loss to AFC Fylde, McNamee said: “Tuesday was a freak game, the conditions with the wind were something else. Swirling around, sometimes you go out and say kick this way, but it made no difference.

“And it contributed to some of the goals in the game too.

“Another night and they don’t really happen.

“Let’s hope this weekend isn’t as windy and normally the surface there is good. Another tough away game like they all are.”