HARTLEPOOL UNITED’S retained list has yet to be determined – but boss Craig Hignett has revealed big changes could be in the offing.

With a number of players out of contract and the club holding options on others, the manager, two weeks after the season ended, admitted: “There will be people who’ll leave who have been here a while.

“It’s sad because they are good lads, but that’s just football.’’

Hignett is in his second spell in charge of Pools. He was dumped by then chairman Gary Coxall in 2017 as the club was crumbling apart behind the scenes amid financial turmoil.

The club, while in the National League, is a more stable operation now and Hignett added: “I’m not going to fail here again.

“I know what to expect now, I’m better this time around, I will fight my corner more this time, last time I accepted things.

“I can be honest with Raj but the same goes the other way. We’ve already had a really honest discussion and got things off our chests. I want people who are honest with me but I’ll also be honest back.’’

Referring to his previous experiences of being in charge, he said: “Too many times at this club in the past there has been sniping and back-stabbbing. That can’t happen and won’t happen here.”

Pools are speaking to a number of potential signings, and he offered an update on the club’s website last night: “All I can say is that we’re working on things behind the scenes and we are all really happy with the progress we are making.’’

Pools finished in the lower reaches of the table and have some ground to make up to challenge for a play-off spot next season.

But Hignett is confident Pools will be more competitive next time around.

He said: “We are looking forward to next season and we have a clear idea of how we are going to go about it.

“I want us to have a team playing football, passing the ball, but I understand in this league you have to have a little more than that.

“We need to be physical, big, powerful and quick, we need to mix that with some football.

“I know the players I want, while the finances will be tight we are going to crack on and getting players in who will make this football club better.

“The chairman’s aim is top seven and that’s what we are going for. Next season will go better than this one because if it doesn’t I won’t be sat here talking to you. That’s how ambitious he is.’’