Hignett relishing life at Victoria Park

The Northern Echo: IN CHARGE: Craig Hignett and Colin Cooper IN CHARGE: Craig Hignett and Colin Cooper

ALMOST halfway through his first season as a coach, Craig Hignett admits it’s a job he’s relishing – and learning from all the time.
Since teaming up with Colin Cooper as Hartlepool United’s management team in the summer, the pair have engineered an upturn in fortunes.
Following last season’s disappointments and relegation to League Two, there’s been a fresh outlook at Victoria Park.
Hignett was approached by Cooper to be his right-hand man, the pair both working at Middlesbrough’s Academy.
“Colin has been fantastic since we teamed up. I was friendly with him, but we weren’t friends,’’ admitted Hignett.
“After working with him I can see how he goes about his job, very professional and, having worked with a lot of managers in my time, he is up there. The way he deals with people, the way he operates with other teams, his preparation – I’ve been massively impressed with him and I’ve learned stuff off him as well.
“We are different personalities, massively different personalities, and that’s worked as well.’’
Pools are at home to Burton Albion tomorrow, aiming to put the disappointment of Tuesday’s FA Cup exit at Coventry behind them.
Jack Baldwin’s 87th minute equaliser looked like taking the game to extra time, but Leon Clarke scored three minutes into added on time to dump Pools out of the competition.
“There was a disappointment on Tuesday. After the game everyone was down, but the sickener was that we got back into it with three minutes to go,’’ said Hignett.
“Overall the lads were fantastic over the two games and can be proud of what they have done.
“It’s been two good games with Coventry, we’ve had good performances against League One sides. Coventry were the best we have played, with two good strikers up front, a real handful.
“For us to cope with that and play like we did, it gives us all belief that we are going about things the right way.
“We started the other night really well, after we had spoken about starting games slowly.
“A few games recently we have gone behind early that has given us a bit to do, but the belief if there and that has been proved by coming back in games.
“We were unluckly not to win at Cheltenham last week after coming back from two-down.’’
Hignett, meanwhile, is hopeful of being able to extend the loan spells of Christian Burgess and Matty Dolan from Boro.
Burgess has been on a half-season loan which is due to expire on January 1, while Dolan has been on a month to month deal at Victoria Park since September.
Both players are keen to stay and continue their development and Hignett and Cooper hope to sit down with Boro and come to an arrangement.
“We were speaking to Boro last week, they will get back to us and we will have a sit down to discuss the lads and we want to keep both until the end of the season,’’ he said.
Pools 2014 club calendars are on sale from the ticket office at Victoria Park, priced £5.

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