CRAIG HIGNETT believes Antony Sweeney has the potential to develop into a top-class coach with Hartlepool United.

Third in the club’s all-time appearance list with 444 outings for the club, and 14th in the goalscoring chart, Sweeney knows Pools inside out.

He was appointed lead phase coach with the club’s academy, but has been promoted to work under Hignett with the first-team squad, joining Ged McNamee on the training ground and in the dug-out on matchdays.

The manager was quick to give Sweeney a chance to progress after he was appointed boss in January and he has been impressed with the reaction.

“Anyone who knows Sweens knows what he is like - he is enthusiastic, a good coach and has the club at heart,’’ said Hignett of the UEFA A Licence holder.

“I want to bring him on as a coach. This experience, working with the first-team, will be invaluable for him.

“I want it to continue moving forward - he has slotted in brilliantly.

“Sweens is a different set of eyes, he has different opinions. I want people like that. I don't want people who just agree with me all the time. We are both attack-minded.’’

Pools take on Solihull at the Super 6 Stadium on Saturday.

Luke Williams has still to turn out for the club this season after signing in August after suffering a knee injury which needed two operations to repair.

He’s been in training and Hignett said: “He has been out a season and a half and it was a freak thing that happened with the knee, then the op not being a success. It has been setback after setback for him.

“He has looked really good in training but we cannot just throw him in. He will have to feel himself in, get confidence then hopefully by the end of the season we will see him play games. He is an exciting one for everyone.

"He's been training with us for the last two weeks - he just needs games, he needs to get a bit of confidence in his knee.’’