Barnet v Hartlepool United: Clear-the-air talks give Pools’ defenders timely lift

Pools boss Craig Hignett

Pools boss Craig Hignett

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After clear-the-air talks Hartlepool United’s defenders have finally got the message, according to boss Craig Hignett.

The gaffer took the unusual step of holding a video session last week, to highlight every defensive issue in the defeat to Carlisle United.

But, by the manager’s own admission, the name and shame tactic backfired, with Pools turning in an even worse display in last week’s 3-1 loss to Leyton Orient.

In a change of tact, this week Hignett and his players held an open, honest, behind-closed doors meeting with the aim of getting to the bottom of what is going wrong at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

Speaking prior to the trip to Barnet tomorrow, Hignett believes the penny has finally dropped with his players.

And he hopes that after sharing some home truths and getting back to basics in terms of defending, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating at the Hive.

Asked whether the message has got through, Hignett said: “Yeah, I am confident it has.

“We had the video session last week and then a meeting this week.

“It was very useful for both the players and ourselves.

“We needed to look at what happened and why it happened. There were some regular things occurring.

“I am confident they will look at things differently now.

“I’m sure they had one way of thinking and playing but having seen what they have seen and listened to us I am confident they can do something about it.”

Six goals conceded in a fortnight and the worst goals against column in League Two, apart from Morecambe, doesn’t make great reading for Hignett & Co.

But the manager is hoping the Orient loss will be a line in the sand moment for his players.

Hignett wants his players to switch on to his message, method and style of play.

He continued: “I don’t want to be a manager who comes in and shouts every day, week-in, week-out.

“At the end of the day, it would be easy to do that in this league.

“I want us to be a learning club, a learning squad.

“We have not played as well as we know we can.

“We have only really played well in patches. What we need to do now is sustain it.

“For us to progress we have to do this together. We can’t be individuals at this football club.

“We have some talented players here who will know this club is a stepping stone for them.

“But they will not make that step unless they learn.”

Last week’s result meant Pools have now gone eight games without a win at the Vic this season, a run that stretches to 10 games if you take the end of last season into account.

It’s a record Hignett is far from proud of.

But he is sure it will change soon. Hignett says patience is key.

“We know we should have won a few games at home, but the longer it goes on it is a concern,” he said.

“Everyone has to be patient. We are a young side who are still learning. Everyone has to remain patient.”