HARTLEPOOL United’s players can be buoyed by their performance against Coventry City and take that confidence forward into a “defining” period in the current campaign, writes Dominic Shaw.
So says goal hero Andy Monkhouse who was delighted to be in the draw for the third round of the FA Cup, and confidently claimed Pools are well in with a shout of going further in the competition by causing an upset in the replay.
The 33-year-old thundered in a powerful header, his fifth goal of the season, capping off an outstanding team move in the 78th minute of Saturday’s tie and clawing Pools level after a dominating second half performance which left the players wondering what might have been.
Coventry City skipper Carl Baker’s wonder strike had given the visitors a deserved half time lead before a resurgent Hartlepool United very nearly turned the game on its head.
But Coventry City have leaked goals in their home games at Northampton’s Sixfields ground, a fact Monkhouse is all too aware of, and says the showing in Saturday’s second half will
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give the Pools players the
lbelief they need to cause the Sky Blues problems again.
“They are in a lot of high scoring games at Northampton, they obviously concede goals,” he told SportMail.
“I don’t know whether they’re happy playing there but we will go there full of confidence.”
Before Pools and Coventry go again, the focus now turns back to league action and a trip to Cheltenham next week.
And Monkhouse is eyeing the busy festive period of games as a chance to shoot Pools well into play-off contention.
“Most of the clubs will look at Christmas as a defining point in the season,” he said.
“If you can play five or six games and get four wins and a couple of draws you’re right up there but it works the other way as well, if you lose a couple of games you will be at the bottom.
“But we have to be positive and I don’t think Saturday did us any harm at all, we’ve gone toe-to-toe with a good League One team and we’re little disappointed we haven’t won the game.
“I know they had a couple of players missing but they’re a good team, we had to match them and in the first half I don’t think we did that.
“Did we pay them a bit too much respect? I’m not sure but they passed it around and we didn’t really have an idea of what to do best but as soon as we got into half time keeping it at 1-0 we were always in with a shout and the gaffer sorted a few things out, made a change, a different playing style and made it more direct and I think it worked.
“Like I said, they were hanging on at the end.”