INCREASED competition for places at Hartlepool United is helping keep Jonathan Franks on his toes.
Hartlepool boss Paul Murray was quick to bring midfielders Nicky Featherstone and Sidney Schmeltz plus striker Scott Fenwick into the League Two club, with further signings promised.
And Franks says the new boys have freshened things up around the squad.
The 24-year-old said: “Competition is always healthy and it helps keeps people on their toes.
“There are lots of games in this league and people will play plenty of matches this season.
“You just have to take that chance when it arrives,
“Nicky is an experienced player and is really good on the ball.
“I am a big fan of his.
“Sidney has come in and given us something a bit different that we didn’t have.
“He has given us a buzz up front that we lacked and he has made a positive impact on the team.
“I hadn’t seen much of Scott but I had heard good things about him and hopefully he can bring something extra to the squad as well.”
Franks, who scored twice in the FA Cup first round win over East Thurrock United recently, found himself in and out of the side under former boss Colin Cooper.
But the Middlesbrough Academy graduate has been enjoying an extended run under Murray, the pair having played alongside each other in the 2012-13 season.
And Stockton-born Franks has been impressed with the first few weeks working under his new boss, following Cooper’s resignation.
He added: “I played with the gaffer when he was back here playing.
“It is a little bit weird now having him as the manager but you could always see that side of him as a player.
“He was a good player, very disciplined, which is what you need.
“I am sure he will go on to become a very good manager.”