Craig Hignett wants Hartlepool United to keep unbeaten run going all the way
Don't be happy with seven games unbeaten - take it all the way.
That was the message from Craig Hignett as Hartlepool United look to extend their impressive sequence to eight games, at Carlisle United tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).
Pools are in great form and despite pulling themselves clear of the drop zone they are showing no signs of taking their foot off the accelerator.
Just when it appeared their undefeated run was coming under threat on Saturday against Mansfield, Pools dug deep to beat the Stags 2-1 thanks to a late Billy Paynter penalty.
“It’s seven unbeaten, which is brilliant,” said Hignett.
“But I’ve said don’t be happy with doing the seven or eight, go 10, 11, 12!
“I want us to get a real feel-good factor going into the summer.
“If we can keep this run going it will be great for the lads and it gets everyone looking at next season.
“The standard has been set now and I don’t want to see it get any lower.
“It shouldn’t because of the quality we’ve got.
“And we know even if we’re not at it [our best] we have shown against Wimbledon and Mansfield, we can stay in games and win them.
“For me, that’s a positive.
“It shows what we are all about.
“The full credit goes to the players - not just the 11 on the field but the subs and those lads who are pushing the others in training.”
Hignett could name an unchanged team for the SIXTH game in a row tonight.
But the manager may opt for a tweak or two.
Michael Woods is in his thoughts after back-to-back impressive sub outings against Leyton Orient and Mansfield, helping Pools over the finish line in both.
The midfielder took a whack late on against Mansfield and Hignett will hope he shakes it off.
Rob Jones could also be in contention after playing the final 21 minutes in a 3-5-2 formation with Matthew Bates and Adam Jackson alongside him.
Hignett was happy with how the side put their bodies on the line when it was four or three at the back and maybe the switch will give him food for thought.
“Defensively, we were as good as we have been,” he said.
“With me changing the shape I was interested to see how we’d react, given we had been do disciplined and rigid over the last few weeks.
“But I got a great reaction from them.”
One reaction Hignett is looking for tonight is more composure - from all the side.
They will be tested by a Carlisle side who still have hopes for making the end-of-season play-offs.
Victory tonight at Brunton Park will take the Cumbrians within a point of the top seven - a point or more for Pools will move them closer to promotion than relegation.
“I think we got caught in a bit of panic football on Saturday if I’m being honest,” he said. “We can be better with the ball, there’s no doubt about that, and we will get better.”
Pools (probable): Carson, Magnay, Bates, Jackson, Carroll, Featherstone, Gray, Hawkins, Thomas, Paynter, James
Subs: Bartlett, Richards, R Jones, Bingham, Oates, Woods, Walker