Higgy’s Summer Blog: Friday 24th May

Pools boss Craig Hignett is back to give us the inside story on a busy week at The Super 6 Stadium.

Hello again everyone and welcome to my Blog here on the Official Website.

We’ve been continuing to put the work in behind the scenes and we’re starting to see the rewards for that now and hopefully there will be plenty of news coming out of the Club in the next few weeks.

We were pleased to get the deal done for Nicke Kabamba last week and it was very pleasing to get another three tied down to new contracts with the Club over the last few days too.

The week started well when we announced the news about Gavan Holohan agreeing his new deal. I am really pleased for Gav because he has done ever so well since arriving at the Club and I think he showed what a good player he is during his appearances near the end of last season.

He obviously had to be very patient due to the clearance issues we had at the start of his time here and then he had to work very hard to earn a place in the team. Once he did so, I don’t think he let anyone down and that’s shown in the response from supporters to his re-signing on Monday and he’s one who can get even better on the back of a full pre-season.

We were also able to do the deal with Myles Anderson to extend his time at the Club. As I said earlier in the week, Myles is a great character to have around the squad – he’s an example for others to follow in terms of how he goes about his training and looking after himself on a day-to-day basis.

He gives us a little bit of flexibility at the back too, with him being able to play in the centre of defence or at left-back and I just felt like he really grew in confidence and showed what he is all about as last season went on.

The next one in to sign a new deal was Ryan Donaldson on Thursday afternoon and that’s another bit of business we’re really happy with.

Ryan had a tough 2017/18 with injury but last season he played almost all the games and was probably one of our most consistent players. He played in a number of positions and attitude-wise he’s exactly what we want. We’re trying to bring in good character and good professionals who look after themselves properly.

Ryan is all of that and he’s got a real hunger and a drive so we’re delighted he’s staying with us and if we can get more like him then we’ll do alright. I think when he took the captaincy that extra responsibility sat well with him and his performances were really mature.

For Ryan, I think it’s just a case of getting another good season behind him because I’ve seen enough of him in training and in games to know that he can definitely play at a higher level.

Then, on Thursday evening we announced that we’d agreed a deal to bring Michael Raynes back to the Club on a permanent deal following his promising loan stay last season, which was obviously cut short by injury.

Raynesy came in at a time when he hadn’t played many games and Harrogate was a bit of a baptism of fire for him – but he got better as that game went on and I thought he was outstanding in the two that followed.

He’s a real leader. I will talk a lot about character over the summer but Raynesy is one who will show everyone how to behave as a professional footballer. He’s vocal, he’s competitive, he’s a proper defender and he’s still only 31 so he’s got plenty left in him yet.

Obviously he was unlucky with the injury but we’ve looked at his track record and that’s the first bad one he’s had in a while and he’s been available for lots of games over the past three seasons.

He’s another good one for us to add to the squad because he’s got the right mindset to help us go and attack this league.

It’s worked both ways with him – we loved what we saw when he came in on loan for all the reasons above, but he also loved everything he saw from us and he was gutted when he got the injury. He had really settled in here and was enjoying his football so I think that’s been a major factor behind his decision to commit to the travelling that will be involved in signing for us.

He knows he’s coming somewhere where he’s going to be wanted, he’s going to be valued and he’s got a part to play and we’re delighted he’s signed because he’s the perfect character for us.

We also gave young goalkeeper Brad Young his first professional contract, which is a great reward for a young lad who has bags of potential if he keeps on working as hard as has done since he joined the Club five years ago.

Brad is a big lad and he has all the attributes to make a good goalkeeper – he has a long way to go and he knows that but it’s down to him now because we feel like he’s got a really good chance.

I think it also shows that this Club does have a pathway for young players to come and play First Team football. There was interest in Brad from an EFL club but he has shown his commitment to us and he knows that he is closer to playing senior football if he continues his development here. We think we can improve him in the same way we’ve improved the likes of Peter Kioso, Kenton Richardson, Josh Hawkes and others.

Thank you to everyone who sent in more kind comments about the Blog during the week, I really appreciate that. I will try to keep you as updated as I can each week – when there is news to report, we’ll have it here on the Official Website.

We got a question in from Jonathan Hall asking me what areas in particular I am looking to strengthen over the summer. In response, I would say we’re looking at everything but in this league I know we need more pace, power, height, legs – that’s what this league is all about, it’s so demanding.

People know the way that I think the game should be played and what I want from my team and I don’t want to go away from that but I also know that all the above qualities are requirements in the National League. We’ll keep on looking and working.

That’s all for now, see you again next week.

Craig.