IT wasn’t quite what Craig Hignett or Hartlepool United expected. Two games into the season and Pools have two defeats to their name.

Pre-season optimism has been punctured in minutes.

They go to Maidenhead today seeking a lift before back to back home games with Fylde on Tuesday and Bromley next Saturday.

In midweek at Halifax, Pools were picked off for the opening goal on the counter attack. The home side sat deep, defended a Pools free-kick and broke away to score.

For all their passing throughout the game, Pools lacked that killer instinct.

“With the ball we are alright, we get in good areas without testing the keeper and we need to spot danger in the back more,’’ said the manager. “We have the quality to win games and we will win plenty this season.

“It’s about spotting danger and knowing the situations you are in. Our problems have been when we are in possession, committing men forward and lads not involved have to stand on people and stop them. We’ve not done it and it cost us.

“First goal the other night and Fraser Kerr is off the pitch for treatment and we are a man down. We have to manage situations like that and learn. Watch the goals and learn and hope the information is retained.

“People understand the standards we have and you need to be told. If they need a rocket they will get one, but I’m not panicking two games in. Tranmere were bottom in November and went up and went on a run and we can go on a run.’’

Pools were two goals down after only 23 minutes last weekend. In both games they have had spells of some promise, but overall they have yet to click.

Hignett has the conundrum of picking his best team and most suited formation. A four-man midfield diamond in midweek was different to the 4-3-3 set up of Saturday.

“We have done quite well in patches in the games, but got nothing out of it and that has to change,’’ he said.

“We go to Maidstone expecting to win. I keep saying about the quality in the squad and we’ve not shown it yet, no panic stations yet but the quicker we get a win the better.

“I watched their games, they look solid and well-organised – which you get in this league and we need to eb the game and be more clinical.

“We need to shoot because dominating the ball won’t get you anywhere.’’

The manager and players were on the end of some abuse at The Shay in midweek from sections of the travelling support.

He said: “It’s not the start we wanted and I understand the frustrations.

“A win on Saturday will calm the nerves – we need first win sooner rather than later. This becomes important and it calms people ahead of two good home games to look forward to.

“It’s a busy start and a lot of our attacking options are out – four lads straight away. Myles is not a million miles away, Kenton is out, but we have a squad that can cope with missing players. After so many games in a short space of time you hope people are back because this is a tough start to the season.’’