Hignett fired up to prove the bookies wrong on Hartlepool United’s League Two prospects

Pools boss Craig Hignett (right) chats to striker Billy Paynter after training at Maiden Castle. Picture by Stu Norton
Pools boss Craig Hignett (right) chats to striker Billy Paynter after training at Maiden Castle. Picture by Stu Norton
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Craig Hignett is aiming to build an attacking, free-flowing Hartlepool United side – and prove the bookmakers wrong.

Odds on Pools being relegated from League Two are as low as 7-1 with some bookies despite the arrivals of attacking trio Padraig Amond, Nicky Deverdics and Lewis Alessandra.

Hignett insists he takes no notice of the odds, with his focus firmly on building a team capable of competing at the top end of the division.

Portsmouth, Doncaster Rovers, Leyton Orient and Luton are the early favourites for promotion and ambitious Hignett wants his players to think big.

And he aims to go on the attack – even if it does send first team coach, former Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace defender Curtis Fleming, mad at times.

“What the bookmakers say doesn’t concern me,” said Hignett.

“I don’t want to look down, I want to be exciting and no-one should be happy with avoiding relegation, it’s not about that.

“I want us to have something to go for.

“We could be tenth and then you have a chance of seventh.

“This division is much of a muchness and it doesn’t take much – consistency and organisation is important.

“I’ve signed ambitious players, with a point to prove.

“I don’t see us staying in this league, I want us to push up and I want players to have the same outlook.

“We are organised and know what we want.

“We will be exciting and I want a free-flowing football team who people will enjoy watching.

“If we get beat 4-3 then so be it.

“Curtis goes mad sometimes, he’s like my little sidekick saying ‘we shouldn’t really be doing that’.”

The coaching team will continue to put the players through their paces at Maiden Castle on day four of pre-season training.

Hignett is pleased with his close-knit coaching unit, with the staff all singing from the same song sheet.

“We do a lot of coaching and if we need help then the option is there for me – at the moment I think we are okay,” added Hignett.

“The staff here are a good unit – it’s important we are all together and they all know what I want from the players.

“If anyone goes to them and asks something they will get the same answer they would from me.

“Don’t ask the question if you are going to be scared of the answer.”