Hartlepool United must 'box clever' in transfer market as they look set for another busy summer

In an ideal world Craig Hignett would like every bit of his summer business done by June.

Saturday, 20th April 2019, 11:57 pm
Updated Sunday, 21st April 2019, 12:49 am
Hartlepool United, managed by Craig Hignett (above) travel to Holker Street to take on AFC Barrow today.

But ever the realist the Hartlepool United manager understands things don’t work like that in football.

Hignett is expecting to again be busy in the market, having been unable to get a number of deals done before the close of the National League registration deadline.

And while he hopes he can get the majority of his new players through the door before the first day of pre-season, with the players set to return in June, Hignett knows Pools’ budget may have an impact on that.

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“I would love to get the business done early,” he said, ahead of this afternoon’s penultimate game of the campaign at Barrow.

“The problem is we are not the team who will pay the biggest wages, we won’t have the biggest budget. For that reason we will have to be clever and savvy about who we bring here.”

Hignett is understood to be keen to tie up a deal for Jon Mellish of Gateshead, and could also snap up one or two others from the cash-strapped International Stadium outfit.

The fact Heed are not yet out of the race for the National League play-offs may well have had an impact.

“We have plans in place. We tried to do stuff before the deadline, it never stops,” said Hignett.

“When teams have got things to play for they are distracted and don’t want to give you an answer.

“Hopefully when we get Monday out the way, people will know where they stand and we can start talking again.

“I would love to get it all done and dusted for the first day of pre-season. It won’t happen, but that’s what I’d like to happen.”

It’s clear to see Hignett is really starting to implement his own style of play on this group of players.

He’s set them free as an attacking force and given the likes of Luke Molyneux and Gavan Holohan licence to wreak havoc in the final third.

While Hignett is happy with that style, he knows Pools will have to have more than one string to their bow next season, if they are to compete at the top end of the division.

“I think we are going to have to play different ways,” he said.

“I want to have enough weapons where I can play different ways.

“We have players now who are quick, can play on the counter.

“But there are more things I want to add to that - power, pace, size, stature. You need a bit of everything in this league.

“We have seen the likes of Solihull come here. And if you thought Solihull were big, just wait for Salford. They have changed their whole ethos this season. They played football, had some success, but changed to get out the league.

“For me I need a good mix. It is about getting that balance right.”