Match Preview: Hartlepool United (H)
EFL League Two
The Hive London
Saturday, October 29, 2016 – KO 3.00pm
Team News: Long-term absentees Michael Gash and James Pearson (both knee) are once again absent, as is Sam Togwell who is recovering from a hernia operation.
Jamal Campbell-Ryce has missed the Bees’ last two, while Elliott Johnson has been absent for the last four.
Gavin Hoyte was substituted early in Tuesday’s draw at Newport County with a hamstring problem.
Last Time We Met: Barnet were unable to build on a fine start against Pools at The Hive in March and went on to lose 3-1 after Fumnaya Shomotum scored his first professional goal.
The tricky midfielder collected a knockdown before dancing into the Hartlepool box and lashing home an unstoppable left-footed drive after just 11 minutes.
But the north east outfit levelled with an even more impressive strike. Lewis Hawkins had never scored a professional goal before this game but crashed home from 25 yards after 34 minutes.
Hawkins repeated the trick six minutes later, bagging his second career goal with a well-placed effort from the edge of the box.
Pools made sure of the points after 62 minutes when Nathan Thomas stepped inside Sam Muggleton and curled home.
Manager: Former Hartlepool United midfielder Craig Hignett, 46, is the man currently in charge of Pools having succeeded Ronnie Moore in February this year.
Hignett turned out just twice for Pools at the end of a lengthy playing career which also saw him turn out for north east sides Darlington, Spennymoor United and Billingham Synthonia before hanging up his boots in 2009.
A goalscoring midfielder-cum-forward in his playing days, Hignett began his career at Liverpool’s before emerging out of Crewe Alexandra’s famed youth set-up.
He moved to Middlesbrough in 1992, spending six years on Teesside, before spells with Aberdeen, Barnsley, Blackburn Rovers and Leicester City.
Hignett’s first steps up the coaching pathway came at Middlesbrough where he worked on the Academy coaching staff.
He became assistant to Colin Cooper at Pools in 2013 before joining Aitor Karanka at Boro.
But he returned to Victoria Park when Moore was sacked with Pools struggling to avoid relegation from League Two. In his first season at the helm he delivered a 16th-place finish.
Dangerman: Winger Nathan Thomas, 22, is Pools’ big threat from the flanks and has six goals in 14 EFL League Two starts this season.
Incredibly, five of those came in September with Thomas the only Hartlepool player to notch during the month.
Signed from Mansfield in January 2016, the Ingelby Barwick native was with Newcastle United as a youngster before turning pro at Sunderland in 2012.
He was later loaned to Darlington 1883 before signing for the semi-pro outfit on a permanent basis in 2012.
His form for the Quakers earnt a move to Plymouth Argyle but Thomas managed just three league starts in 14 months at Home Park and headed north once more to join Motherwell in February 2015.
Two outings for the SPL outfit comprised his stay in Scotland and Thomas was on the move again last summer, joining League Two Mansfield. He spent six months at Field Mill before switching to Hartlepool and has thrived since that move.
Connections: The Bees include former Hartlepool United favourite Michael Nelson in their ranks. The Admiral spent six years with Pools between 2003 and 2009, making 306 appearances for the club.
Nelson helped Hartlepool to promotion from League Two in 2007 before moving onto Norwich City.
Hartlepool have former Bee Nicky Deverdics in their squad. The midfielder joined the club from Dover Athletic over the summer.
The 28-year-old, who was born in Newcastle, made 51 appearances for Barnet between 2008 and 2010.
Last Time Out: Pools extended their winless run in League Two to four matches as they slipped to a 3-1 home defeat against struggling Leyton Orient.
Josh Laurent put Hignett’s side in front on the stroke of half time when he bundled home from close range following a corner.
But Sandro Semedo levelled for the O’s ten minutes after the restart when he zipped a low shot past Trevor Carson at the near post.
In the 62nd minute Orient went in front when Ollie Palmer checked back onto his right foot and curled a low effort into the far corner.
Palmer added a third nine minutes later when he went through one-on-one and drilled home.
Hartlepool United (4-4-2): Carson; Richard, Nsiala, Donnelly, Carroll; Laurent, Featherstone, Hawkins, Alessandra; Amond, N. Thomas.
Ticket info: Supporters can order tickets for tomorrow’s match from our online box office or by arriving early and buying on the day from The Hive Ticket Office.