CRAIG HIGNETT is delighted with Hartlepool United’s transfer business so far this summer and, after starting pre-season training in Peterlee, he wants to add more new faces in the weeks ahead.

As the Pools players were going through the training programmes at East Durham College on Tuesday morning, former Carlisle and Darlington midfielder Jason Kennedy joined them in his attempts to stay fit.

The 32-year-old is a free agent after leaving Brunton Park last month and he is looking for a new club, which has given Hignett the opportunity to work with a Stockton-born midfielder who graduated from Middlesbrough’s academy.

Hartlepool have added five new players on a permanent basis already this summer, with striker Gime Toure joining Nicke Kabamba, Michael Raynnes, Ben Kilip and Luke Molyneux moving so far. Hignett is not finished yet.

The Hartlepool boss said: “I am looking for good players. I would still like another one or two … a midfielder, someone who would win the ball and who is athletic.

“We have good footballers but maybe not enough who do the dirty side. I want some ball winners, destroyers, and those are what we are looking for. We know who we want. From seeing someone to signing him, there are a million and one things that can go wrong and normally do.”

He added: “We have three trialists in to have a look and see where they are at. It’s a good way, if I am not sure of someone, to see how they are as lads.

“We have a good team spirit and I don’t want to do too much to upset it. It only takes one or two and it can go wrong. I wouldn’t just sign anyone if I am not sure about them. My main job is to get value for money for the chairman and bring the right people in.”

Hartlepool’s first couple of days back on the training ground have not been in perfect summer weather, with the mist and drizzle accompanying them on Tuesday morning.

Hignett is desperate to see a rise in standards running through the club and on the pitch under his watch, and he hopes improvements that have been made to training facilities will help too.

In terms of his squad, though, he is delighted with what has been done so far ahead of another season in the National League.

He said: “We are by no means finished but we are in a better place than we have been for a long time. I looked at the end of the season, I felt we needed more pace, power, height and we have done that.

“I have done that in a way that suits the way I want us to play. I don’t just want big lads so we can bash the ball up to them, that’s not me. I want them to play football and all of the lads who have come in can play football.

“Gime Toure is a big lad, he’s quick, powerful, but he can play. He can pick a pass, score a goal. He’s French, this is his third season in this country and he has a good grasp of it now, he knows what it’s about. He needs a home.

“Michael Raynes is a leader, he will organise at the back. Ben Killip came in yesterday and I have never seen a keeper run like that (in fitness tests) and we have found out his mam was a marathon runner!

“I have not seen anything like Adam Bale (signed after release from Sunderland last season) running round the pitch with a keeper trying to keep up with him. We have recruited really well. We have recruited a good mix, balance. We have experience to show them the way.”

Hartlepool have six pre-season friendlies lined up and Hignett is pushing to arrange a further two.