Hartlepool Utd’s ‘new’ striker relishing role ahead of Yeovil clash

Andy Monkhouse puts pressure on as Pools look to see out the game against Scunthorpe. Picture by FRANK REID
Andy Monkhouse puts pressure on as Pools look to see out the game against Scunthorpe. Picture by FRANK REID
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FROM spindly winger to burly target man, Andy Monkhouse admits his transformation has come as something of a shock.

The beanpole midfielder had long since occupied Pools’ left flank, making the position his own during the course of his six seasons at Victoria Park.

Of late, though, Monkhouse has been seen roughing up opposition centre-halves in his new role as the focal point of Pools’ attack.

For the past six games he has undertaken his striking duty, eventually reaping a scoring reward during Saturday’s 2-0 win at Scunthorpe United.

Tomorrow he will be bidding for his first home goal since March when Pools take on Yeovil Town at Victoria Park.

And, with Mick Wadsworth this week stating Monkhouse will continue as a centre-forward for the foreseeable future, the player admits he’s fast getting used to his new posting.

“I’ve said before I will play anywhere in the side and I’m enjoying it up front,” said the 31-year-old, having been paired in attack with James Poole in recent weeks.

“As long as the gaffer puts me up there then I’ll try my best and I must admit I’m enjoying it.

“I’ve got to use my size in the air and in this league there’s a few big people out there, but I use it to my advantage and I’m not too bad on the floor either.

“There’s different angles to think about and I’ve not normally got a six foot five meathead behind me raking my Achillies when I’m on the wing!

“But I seem to be more involved than out wide, out there you can go 20 minutes without a touch and you get frustrated - in the middle you see the ball a bit more.

“Poolie being there helps and I think if you ask him then he will enjoy playing up there with me.”

And Monkhouse, who had played on the left-hand side of midfield since breaking into the Rotherham team as an 18-year-old, went on: “I never thought of myself as a centre-forward, although Mick said that’s how he saw me when he first came to the club.

“I’m not too sure I’m ready to be called a bruising centre-forward just yet!

“But the gaffer’s put me up there the last few weeks and it’s worked well.

“Poolie reads my flicks and gets in behind and it’s good.

“It’s the big man, little man partnership and if I can win my share of headers and flick-ons, all the better.

“I played up front last season briefly and scored two at Exeter then Mick decided to put me back on the left and now I’m up front again.

“It’s different for me, I’m used to running up and down the left and crossing, but I’m enjoying it and long may it continue.”