Hartlepool United say ex-Sunderland academy forward will cost £1million

Nathan Thomas
Nathan Thomas
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Nathan Thomas has had a £1million price tag slapped on his head by Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett.

And the gaffer insists not one of his players will be allowed to leave the Northern Gas & Power Stadium on the cheap.

As has become the norm in recent months a host of second and third tier scouts are expected tomorrow, when lowly Leyton Orient are the visitors in League Two.

And Hignett accepts that most will be there to cast their eye over top scorer Thomas, who was previously at the Sunderland academy.

He says there has been no firm interest in his wideman yet, but as the January window edges closer Hignett expects Thomas will be subject to speculation.

The Pools boss is warning any interested parties, though, that they will not get Thomas, or any of his players, on the cheap.

Any team wanting to nick Thomas in the next window will have to dig deep.

“We won’t let anyone go for peanuts,” said Hignett.

“When you see Kemar Roofe go for £3million from Oxford United or Callum O’Dowda was bought for £1.5m plus add ons, and they both played in League Two, I can see a player like Nath going for seven figures.

“People are going to have to pay the going rate for our players.

“If any player leaves, the club will have to be rewarded for that.

“Any deal would have to be right for Hartlepool United.

“If it is not right for the player or the club, we won’t let them go. It’s as simple as that. We don’t need to let them go.”

While some spectators, sitting alongside Hignett in the stands, might have their focus on the performance of certain individuals, the gaffer is only concerned about the collective.

And even though opponents Orient have struggled so far this season, and sit third bottom in the League Two standings, Hignett knows his side will not have it easy tomorrow as they look to record their first home win of the season.

Assessing the match, Hignett said: “They are having an up and down season.

“They have had some problems and have got a new manager.

“All games can be tough, though.

“We need to be professional and turn up and do our jobs correctly.

“Orient will be desperate to get their season up and running. We need to make sure they don’t.

“It is not a gimme. It is a tough game.”