CRAIG HIGNETT’S judgement on his Hartlepool United players has not been swayed by the Easter Monday defeat at Barrow.

Pools gave their worst performance under Hignett – and their most inept in a long time – as they went down 1-0 in Cumbria. Pools end their season at home to Salford on Saturday.

During his previous spell in charge, players were culled on the back of a final day of the season thumping at Plymouth.

This time, however, Hignett has long known what he needs to do in the summer.

Speaking at his press conference this morning, he admitted: “I’ve been clear about the job from day one and we’re clear about what we need as a club. I’ve said it before it’s going to be a slow process because we haven’t got the finances to change everything at once.

“I’m going to have to do it slowly but it hasn’t changed what I think. I know where we are short and I know what we need, so the job is now trying to get the players in that I want for next season and trying to move us forward.”

“On Monday I don’t think we reached the standards we set ourselves at all, whether that was attitude, whether that was end of season, I don’t know but we made it clear afterwards that it won’t be tolerated and we need a reaction.

“It’s a big game on Saturday for us, Salford have got everything to play for but we want to give a good account of ourselves and finish the season properly.”

Hignett felt his players showed a soft attitude during the pre-match warm-up in their penultimate game, which carried on into the defeat.

He said: “They have got nothing to play for, nothing matters and everyone will say they are professional footballers who should be professional and I think we have got some really good professionals but we’ve also got some lads who will switch off.

“There’s some who need a bit of something on a game to perform and whether it's right or wrong it happens and you as a manager have got to see the people who can and see the people who’ve gone on holiday already and decide who’s best to play.”