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Hignett could send Reds down

By Doug O'Kane, Sports Editor Friday 25th April 2014
Craig Hignett.

Middlesborough assistant and Reds legend Craig Hignett says he will be devastated if his side relegates Barnsley tomorrow.


Hignett, who narrowly missed out on the Reds job last season before it was handed to David Flitcroft, was Colin Cooper's right-hand man at Hartlepool before moving to the Riverside Stadium under new boss Aitor Karanka in March.


Hignett said: "We obviously know what's happening at Barnsley and it won't be a nice feeling if I play a part in relegating them. But their results haven't been good enough and they are where they are for a reason. They'll be fighting for their lives and we know it won't be an easy game.


"Everyone knows how much I love Barnsley. It's a club I'm fond of, just like it is for our midfielder Jacob Butterfield, and it will be strange for both of us if we are involved in Barnsley going down."


Karanka rested four of his first team players for Tuesday's 2-0 defeat to Reading but Hignett warned Reds fans not to expect any favours tomorrow. He said: "We weren't happy on Tuesday and the manager let the players know.  He won't let anyone go through the motions and we'll be fielding a full-strength team against Barnsley.


"We respect the league and want to finish our season in front of our fans properly, even though we don't have anything to play for. We let ourselves down last week and we want to bounce back and end the season on a high."


Hignett revealed he was approached by the Barnsley board on the eve of the Leeds clash last January. If the Reds had lost or drawn the game, Flitcroft would have been fired and fans' favourite Hignett would have been appointed.


"I was gutted at the time when it didn't work out," Hignett admitted. "I don't think it was handled in the best way possible. I'd left the job I was in because of what they'd told me and told everyone close to me it was a done deal. I'd began to make plans for Barnsley so was gutted when I didn't get the job.


"But it worked out well for the club in the end and there's no hard feelings. I ended up going to Hartlepool in League Two and then got the move to Middlesbrough, so I'm pleased with how my coaching career is progressing."