Hartlepool United’s patient approach with summer signing Nicky Deverdics is eventually starting to pay dividends, according to gaffer Craig Hignett.
It’s fair to say the midfielder, signed from part-timers Dover Athletic in the summer, had a difficult start to life at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.
But cream always rises to the top, and now Deverdics has become a cornerstone of Pools’ recent success, scoring two crackers in his last five games.
Hignett admits the transition from two training sessions a week in non-league football, to five mornings has been tough for Deverdics.
And maybe that has shown with his performances on a weekend, having been in and out the manager’s starting XI this campaign.
But now, with the former Newcastle United trainee up to speed, with games and months of training under his belt, Hignett can only see the creator getting better and better at the Vic.
“We are without Nath (Nathan Thomas), but Nicky has done well,” Hignett said of Deverdics taking up the mantle left behind by Thomas.
“Nicky is a really good player. But having come here from a National League side that doesn’t train every day, it was always going to take time to adjust.
“His ability is there to see and he just needed a run of games.
“We know what a good player he is – he has an eye for a pass, his set-piece delivery in and around the box is good and he’s a goal threat himself with 15 goals last season.
“He’s had a couple of goes in the side early on, but it didn’t quite work out for him.
“We were always going to persevere with him and we know what he can do and he’s starting to show what he can do now.”
Meanwhile, Hignett has called for his forward players to be more clinical at Adams Park.
The Pools boss admits he was impressed by the likes of Lewis Alessandra, finally handed a chance in his preferred central striking role, in midweek.
But he was also disappointed by his players not taking responsibility in the final third, especially given the level of goalkeeping in the fourth tier.
On Alessandra, Hignett said: “He was dangerous.
“They all were on the break. We looked threatening.
“We got in some really good positions then didn’t pull the trigger.
“It was like we were trying to score the perfect goal – that never happens.
“At this level, if you have a chance to shoot, do it.
“You just never know with goalkeepers at this level.
“If you don’t shoot you never know.”