Pools boss Craig Hignett returns with an update for supporters in this Blog covering his latest transfer work and his plans for pre-season training.
Hello everyone and welcome to my latest Blog here on the Official Website.
I’m sorry that I missed doing one last Friday but I managed to squeeze in a little trip away, which was really nice. I spent a couple of days over in Dublin and it was great to catch up with some friends there and have a little break. I couldn’t really go away for a holiday for too long this year, simply because it’s been too busy so that trip was a welcome time to relax for a while.
As soon as I was back here though, we were back in to the hard work. We’re really pleased with where we’ve got to so far and, with around six weeks left until the kick-off, we’ll come back to pre-season on Monday with the bulk of the squad we’ll be going with already in place. I think this time last year we’d only signed two players so we’re a little ahead in that respect.
Gime Toure is the latest player to come in to the Club and, as I said when he signed, I feel like he’s got everything he needs to be a massive success in the game, he just needs someone to give him a home and a chance to really shine.
I think he would probably admit himself that he’s not really done himself justice during his time in England so far, but you have to take in to consideration the factors that it’s a new country, a culture shock in terms of how the game is played and a totally different language too.
He’s more used to all that now, he’s matured as a person and a player and I like the fact that he’s ambitious and he really wants to kick-on now. He knows he should be playing at a higher level and all that stuff combined means he could be a bit of a wild card for us so let’s hope we can see the best of him.
We’re still actively looking to recruit more players. We have probably got room for maybe a couple more, if we’re lucky. Then that will be us, job done and we’ll be looking forward to getting cracking on the season and then hopefully enjoy the rewards of a hard pre-season.
In terms of pulling off a transfer, there’s a lot more goes in to it than probably meets the eye. From the moment you decide on a target and start making calls you have to contend with a little bit of posturing – “he’s got interest from a few clubs” or “he’s spoken to X club at the weekend”.
If you show your hand too early then they can use it to play off against other people so you have to be a bit savvy and, above all, very patient. If you go too early then players think there is something better and will keep you waiting but we’ve made a bit of a stand on that this summer. We’ve actually had players who have been offered things from us that they’ve not taken, waited and then come back to us – but we’ve moved on by then and had to tell them no.
It’s frustrating, of course, because I would have liked them to nail their colours to the mast and show that they want to play for the Club. The fact that they don’t, makes me question whether they would actually want to be here. The people who have said yes pretty much straight away and showed that willing are the ones we have pushed through on.
There is a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t see. Even just trying to find out if a player is interested or available, it’s work that takes time and sometimes it turns out to be fruitless. From the minute you make an enquiry to the point of signing someone, a million things can go wrong and a million things have to fall in to place.
So, it’s back to pre-season on Monday morning and the players can expect it to be hard work. I am all for doing lots of stuff with the ball, as much as we can – we’re footballers at the end of the day. But we need to be the fittest team in the division, and that requires you to run.
Sometimes I want to see people’s mental strength (I won’t use the term ‘mentally torture!’) and there’s nothing more boring than running around a field with no ball anywhere in sight – but I will learn more about people’s characters from that than by doing it the other way.
Having said that, the Club has moved on – we’ll be very scientific in our approach this pre-season, more so than previously. Pre-season will be measured down to the last step. The lads will have to hit certain marks throughout each day and week, and those who don’t will find themselves catching up at the end of the week by running on their own.
That should breed harder trainers and a competitive environment. We will be publishing the results for the rest of the lads to see so that competitive edge will mean they will all want to be on the leader board and not at the bottom of the pile!
I have to say, I am really excited about the season now. It’s just got a different feeling about it, there is a different feeling around the whole Club. The training ground is brilliant, we’ve all worked hard over the summer to make sure it’s right for the lads – Sweens has been there more than one day this week painting and I was there this morning with a brush too so we’re all chipping in to get where we want to be. We’ve drifted in recent years and it has to stop, the standards needs to be higher and they will be.
There has been lots of good work done at this Club off the pitch, now it’s time for the football side to do things better and smarter, that’s what we have to do. I have a really good feeling about what is ahead and I know you can never tell until the first game comes around, but I am really looking forward to it.
That’s all for now.
Have a great weekend.