Hartlepool manager Craig Hignett is relishing the visit of league leaders Leyton Orient on Saturday. Hignett who returned to the management hot seat back in January is fully aware of the test that awaits his side but feels it can highlight where is side are. Speaking to hartlepoolunited.co.uk “it’s the biggest challenge, their top of the pile and have been great this season. Justin Edinburgh has done a fantastic job with them, they are a big club and it will be a real tough game but a good gage to where we are in the grand scheme of things”
- Sit 15th on 39 points – nine points above relegation zone
- League Record – P31 W10 D9 L12 F34 A42
- One win in last four – W1 L3
- Only two wins in last eight games – W2 D2 L4
Hartlepool head into the clash after a 2-1 home victory over Braintree two weeks ago. A second half comeback with goals from Nicke Kabamba and Josh Hawkes ensured victory. Hignett who took charge of his first game was delighted with the response of his side after falling behind stating to Non-League Paper “it was a good start, winning was the most important thing after what has gone on. I’m delighted overall, the second half especially and the win was the most important thing, it was about getting three points”.
Pool saw their match against Ebbsfleet postponed last weekend due to adverse weather conditions which disappointed Hignett. After picking up their first win in four games against Braintree, Hignett thought it was a perfect chance to back it up. Speaking to hartlepoolunited.co.uk “we wanted to play, to try and get a bit of momentum. We had a good result the week before and we wanted to try and build on it”.
- Home League Record – P16 W5 D6 L6 F20 A21
- Two league wins since October
- Won two of their last four – W2 L2
- Taken just six points from last 24 available at home
It’s been a turbulent campaign at Pool this season with Hignett the third manager of the season following Matthew Bates and Richard Money. Sitting nine points from the bottom four, Hignett is keen to start planning for the following season but wants to bring the feel good factor to Victoria Park. Speaking to hartlepoolunited.co.uk “we have to win as many games as possible, we want to push on this season, we are not giving it up. We’ve got to bring back a feel good factor back. We want to give the fans something to be excited about”.
Hignett managed Pools between February 2016 and January 2017, before returning as Director of Football in March 2018. The 49 year old swapped places with Richard Money in January and is keen for the club to have some security. Speaking to hartlepoolmail “there’s been a lot of change, a lot of instability at the club and it has to change, win as many games and keep a settled side”. But after being around the club for under a year before taking the reigns has been a boost, “it is a massive help, I have been around it since Matty (Bates) went. I have taken two games so I know the players and the characters”
- Kept Six league clean sheets – three at home
- No clean sheet in last eight games (all competitions)
- Only kept one clean sheet in last 15 league games (1-0 away to Maidenhead, 8/12/18)
- Only kept two clean sheets in last 15 games
Midfielder Ryan Donaldson was stand in skipper in the victory over Braintree last time out and acknowledges the quality that the Orient team possesses. Pool earned a point down at the Breyer Group Stadium back in October and Donaldson highlights it is no shock Orient find themselves top of the table. Speaking to hartlepoolmail.co.uk “they have a lot of threats all over the pitch and have scored a lot of goals. They have some brilliant players, it will be a big test but one we are looking forward to against probably the best team in the National League”.
- Failed to score in six league games
- Scored in last 15 games
- Scored in last 12 league games (last failed, Bromley 4-0, 3/11/18)
- Six of their last seven home games have ended 2-1
Despite facing one of the title favourites, Hignett understands victory tomorrow will give them back to back wins for the first time since September. With the O’s struggling with their away form, Hignett is keen to concentrate on his side and what they have to do. Speaking to hartlepoolunited.co.uk “we go in confident, we know we are going to have to be at our best to get something out of the game. I don’t really worry about the opposition too much, it’s more about what we do and the improvements. If we go out and play like we can do, I’m sure we can get a positive result”.
- 25/42 league goals conceded have been in the second half (13/21 at home)
- But four of their last six have been in the first half
- 20/34 league goals have been scored in second half (11/20 at home)
- Four of their last six including three of their last five a home have been in the second half
Hartlepool hope to welcome back defender Carl Magnay and midfielder Liam Noble after the pair have returned from injury. Luke Williams still remains out through injury. Hignett could partner Luke James in attack after his impact from the bench against Braintree. While Nicke Kabamba will be hoping to add to two goals after netting in his first two appearances for Pools.
Head to Head – Hartlepool 21, Draw 10, Leyton Orient 20
- Hartlepool are unbeaten in the last three meetings between sides
- Hartlepool have kept back to back clean sheets against Orient
- Hartlepool have won five of the last eight meetings
- Hartlepool have won four of the last five meetings at Victoria Road
Last Time Out – 26/01/2019 – Hartlepool 2-1 Braintree
Prediction – Hartlepool 1-2 Leyton Orient