New faces have given Hartlepool Utd a boost

Andy Monkhouse heads down for Luke James to open the scoring at Wimbledon. Picture by FRANK REID
Andy Monkhouse heads down for Luke James to open the scoring at Wimbledon. Picture by FRANK REID

EXPERIENCED Hartlepool United midfielder Andy Monkhouse says the January recruits have given the Pools camp a much-needed boost, writes Richard Mennear.

The 33-year-old says permanent signing Marlon Harewood and on-loan duo Luke Williams and Jack Barmby are all “good footballers” and is confident they will make Pools a better team.

The number 11 has been particularly impressed with 20-year-old forward Williams, signed on loan from Middlesbrough for a month and 19-year-old Manchester United ace Barmby, also at Pools for a month.

Striker Harewood, 34, has started all three matches since signing for the Sky Bet League Two team, while Williams has impressed at the forefront of a new-look diamond formation in the recent 2-0 win over York City and Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to AFC Wimbledon.

Barmby, meanwhile, has come off the bench twice, and looked promising and productive in the final third in both matches.

The highly-rated teenager marked his Football League and Pools debut with a wonderful strike in the 89th minute of the York match to seal the 2-0 win at the weekend – a feat which Monkhouse admits he’d do well to better.

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“It is a boost for the lads that are here and new signings always give the place a lift”, said Monkhouse.

“Everyone knows about Marlon, who has been there and done it, but I think he probably just needs a couple of games to get up to speed and I’m sure he will be a big plus for us.

“The two younger lads have done really well, Luke especially has done well in the two games he has played and has been unlucky not to score.

“While, Jack will get better the more games he plays.

“It doesn’t get much better than when he came on against York City and it doesn’t happen like that every week.

“But they are good footballers and hopefully they will make us better.

“There is a good squad down and we are just really disappointed that we couldn’t take the win home with us,” said Monkhouse after the gut-wrenching defeat away to the Dons which saw Pools dominate possession and chances but come away pointless.

Speaking after Saturday’s win over York, manager Colin Cooper said both Williams and Barmby “oozed class” and said he would love to have the pair stay at Pools longer than their initial month-long loan deals, but admitted that was out of his hands.

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