Boss Monkhouse wants Pontefract Collieries to play the 'right way'
New Pontefract Collieries manager Andy Monkhouse wants his side to be competitive and play football the right way as he prepares for his first season in charge.
The former Rotherham and Hartlepool United player took over the reins in April following the departure of Craig Parry and Craig Rouse.
Pontefract are in the midst of pre-season as they build up towards the new campaign which is set to get underway on September 12 with an FA Cup Preliminary Round game.
“I’m settling in really well,” said Monkhouse. “We’re starting to get back to some normality despite the current situation. We’ve played pre-season games, albeit with no fans in the ground but we’re playing and it’s important for the lads to get the minutes under their belts.”
Since taking over, Monkhouse has wasted no time in the transfer market and has brought in a number of new players. Former Barnsley man Jordan Barnett and recent Guiseley player Scott Smith are amongst the new additions.
When asked about recruitment, Monkhouse said: “I’m happy with where we are at the minute. I know I want to strengthen and I need to strengthen but things like that take time. The better players at this level get snapped up quite quickly so it’s all about being on the phone and going out to watch games.
“I know where I want to strengthen and where we need it but at the minute, I’m happy with what I’ve got. It’s early days and we’ve still got a long-time to go before the season starts. It gives us plenty of time to being the right players in. I’m not going to sign just anybody, there’s a way I want to play and the type of person I want to bring into the club and things like that take time.”
Collieries enjoyed two promotions in four years under old management nevertheless, Monkhouse admits that there is no additional pressure from the club.
“The pressure comes from myself,” explains the 39-year-old. “I put myself under pressure to get results. I know that the previous management team did really well. They did things that were successful. That’s fair play to them but this is going to be seen as a bit of a change. When it comes to the season, I’m under no illusions that we have to win football matches and that’s what I will be doing, my staff will be doing and my players will be doing.
“I want to play football the right way. It is difficult when the weather turns and the pitches get difficult but there’s a way I want to play. Ultimately, we have to win football games and sometimes it will be pretty, other times it will be the case of playing a little bit differently to get results.
“The players that I’m bringing in understand that’s the case. We’re not thinking that we’re going to pass the ball and play football because at this level it’s not possible. We’ll have to mix it up at times and that’s why it’s important to get the right players in.”
As things stand, pre-season games are taking place behind closed doors however, the ongoing #LetFansIn campaign is gaining traction. Monkhouse underlined the importance of fans saying: “Everyone knows the situation that football is in. The fans need to be let in; obviously when that’s safe to do so.
“Droylsden have gone out of the league already and if the fans aren’t let in, when does the season start? It’s difficult to plan but we’ve just got to plan as if the season, the FA Cup, is going to start on the 12th. The league will start on the 19th. We just have to plan to these dates but it has to be with fans because otherwise the season won’t start.”