JONATHAN Franks has praised the “professionalism” of his Hartlepool United team-mates during last night’s 9-0 rout of Billingham Town.
Pools were 3-0 up at the break thanks to first-half goals from Jack Compton, Marlon Harewood and Brad Walker.
But the Pools players weren’t happy to settle for that scoreline and blasted another six past Town in the following 45 minutes at Bedford Terrace.
Franks, who netted two goals himself in the second-half, has praised the ruthlessness of the young Pools side and said the players were “spurring” each other on to get more.
The 24-year-old was the only Pools player to play the full 90 minutes and he impressed in a number of roles, out wide and also through the middle, his favoured position.
His two goals came in the space of two second-half minutes, the first in the 50th minute was a 20-yard thunderbolt past the hapless Corey Smith while his second was another smart finish from the edge of the area.
Overall, it was a ruthless performance and a positive way to start the pre-season fixtures.
Franks told SportMail: “When we got the fourth, fifth and six goals, the lads were all still spurring each other on to go and get more.
“We also had the lads at the back on at us all the time because they wanted to make sure they kept a clean sheet.
“It was a good performance overall.”
It was always likely to be one-way traffic given the strength of the opposition last night.
Billingham Town play in the Ebac Northern League Division Two following their relegation from Northern League Division One last season, with a goal difference of -181 after winning just two matches all season.
Franks added: “No disrespect to Billingham but it was a good run out for us and for them as well, to test themselves against league opposition.
“We had to do it the right way though and stay professional and I think the lads did that.
“We want to try and improve how we pass and move the ball and after the first 10 minutes we got into our stride and passed the ball around quite nicely.
“At this stage of the season it is all about getting good habits ingrained in the way you play and to get rid of the bad habits.
“We also want to improve our fitness levels while at the same time improve our standards of play – the way we move and pass the ball.
“We want to win these games, it can be seen as an extra training session, but we still want to win and we have done and can be pleased with our performance.”
Manager Colin Cooper made 10 substitutes in total, with the former Middlesbrough forward the only player not to be subbed off.
Stockton-born Franks joked: “It was the just the way the game panned out but I don’t know whether it was a good or a bad thing.
“I played a few positions during the course of the match and it was good to get a couple of goals.
“All in all, we are pleased with how it went, we didn’t get any knocks, and we can now move forward.”