Boss Hignett admits Pools are “more boring” now, but results prove change in approach is working

Wearsider Jordan Richards (right) in action for Hartlepool United in last week's draw with Crawley Town. Picture by Frank Reid
Wearsider Jordan Richards (right) in action for Hartlepool United in last week's draw with Crawley Town. Picture by Frank Reid
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Hartlepool United are “more boring” than earlier in the season, according to boss Craig Hignett.

But the gaffer doesn’t care one bit, so long as Pools keep picking up results.

Hignett’s men are on a six-game unbeaten stretch as they head, this afternoon, to Carlisle United, who are yet to lose this campaign.

Pools’ last league loss was to Stevenage back on September 3.

Since then, Pools have gone from strength to strength, getting results against three of League Two’s top six in recent weeks.

The catalyst to their upturn in fortunes has been a switch in mentality and approach, says Hignett.

But he admits the changes have made his team a little less easy on the eye.

“I think we have changed since Stevenage. It is a little bit more safe. It is a little bit more boring,” said the gaffer.

“But it has got us results and we haven’t been beaten playing like that.

“So it is the about striking the right balance.

“It is about going for it, taking the shackles off as well as keeping things tight so you are in with a chance of winning the game.”

Hignett admits that after the debacle at Broadhall Way last month, he, and his coaches, did a fair bit of soul-searching.

He continued: “I asked a lot of questions of myself and I asked a lot of questions of a lot of people.

“You can’t keep shipping two goals a game, even though we were playing open football and scoring goals.

“You just can’t expect to win games playing that way. So we decided to go a lot tighter.

“Away from home, it suits us a lot better to play like that.

“At home, I don’t think we have found the right mix yet.”

There have been calls from some quarters for Hignett to change his formation and adjust his forward line, especially with fan favourite, skipper and last season’s top-scorer Billy Paynter on the bench.

Hignett thinks change isn’t always for the better.

“It doesn’t matter what system you play it is all about the players desire to run into the box,” he explained.

“You can play 4-5-1 and you still should have four people in the box. You can play 4-3-3 and it’s the same. 4-4-2 doesn’t always guarantee you have got four people in the box.

“People look at it and think when you play two strikers it is more attacking, but it isn’t always.

“That system can stifle midfielders making runs forward. And we have got players here who are getting bet at that with every game.”

Meanwhile, Carlisle boss Keith Curle, who completed the signing of forward Derek Asamoah on a short-term deal prior to tomorrow’s clash, says he is wary of the threat Pools pose to his side, especially when they travel away from the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

He said: “It’s a home fixture, a local derby on the back end of a fantastic away result and support [at Morecambe] and an opportunity to entertain our own crowd at Brunton Park against our near neighbours who, away from home, have got a very good record.

“They’re actually above us in the league table for points gained away from home.

“They are not getting the run of the ball at home, but away from home they are a very formidable team and are picking up points.

“We’re mindful of that but also think we’ve got some ammunition that can hurt them.”