Manager Craig Hignett ready to be ruthless with Hartlepool United squad

Craig Hignett feels it’s a case of ‘sink or swim’ for his Hartlepool United players going into the new National League season.

Friday, 19th July 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 19th July 2019, 6:00 am
Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett at York City. YCFC 2-1 HUFC 17-07-2019. Picture by Frank Reid

Pools were beaten 2-1 at York City on Wednesday in a typical game of two halves at Bootham Crescent.

Craig Hignett’s side were a constant threat in the opening 45-minutes and good value for their half-time lead before an arduous second half display.

“I said to the players after the game we’ve got to give the fans performances week-in week-out because the standards are going to change,” said the United boss.

Nicke Kabamba celebrates opening the scoring for Hartlepool at York. Picture Frank Reid

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“I’m not going to put up with mediocre performances and we’ve got a squad now where the competition for places will mean people will either sink or swim and I’ll find out a lot about the lads.

“We should have played well in the second half, we had enough quality. Making all the changes makes it difficult but that’s not an excuse because it wasn’t good enough.

“A lot of little things that we’ve been working on in training weren’t picked up properly and the goals we conceded were really poor.

“It might have been better playing two different teams in different friendlies back-to-back, it’s something we’ve looked at but I didn’t want to risk leaving ourselves short.”

Without naming any names, Hignett admitted that some of his players are struggling for form ahead of the new season and may be have to look elsewhere.

“We’ve got a couple of lads who are struggling for form as well so they’ve got to play through it and find their form from somewhere,” he added.

“As I’ve said with the competition for places that we have, players will either sink or swim, they’ll either go with it or they’ll fold and they won’t last long.

“As the weeks go on and the games go on, it’s becoming more and more apparent who those are.

“We still might get one or two coming in or going out but I think we’re pretty much there at the minute.

“If I was to choose a squad tomorrow there would be a good 17 players I’d be able to pick from.”