Antony Sweeney says Colin Cooper has given Hartlepool United best possible preparation

Antony Sweeney

Antony Sweeney

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ANTONY Sweeney believes Hartlepool United could not be better prepared for League Two – and that is all down to manager Colin Cooper and assistant Craig Hignett.

Pools kick off their campaign at Rochdale today with Cooper taking charge of his first competitive fixture.

Pre-season has been a mixed bag with the only victories coming against non-league opposition.

But, on the training pitches at Maiden Castle, skipper Sweeney says preparations have been perfect.

“The sessions have been excellent and I honestly think we could not be better prepared for the season,” the 29-year-old told SportMail.

“Colin and Craig have a different outlook on things.

“The information has been very good and the preparation excellent.

“The whole place is just a happier place to be.

“At times last season it really wasn’t.

“I have nothing but positive things to say at this stage, I’ve been very impressed.”

He went on: “But we cannot start like we did last season (5-0 defeat at Crewe).

“It’s massive for us to get a good platform.

“That’s doubly important when you’ve dropped down a division.

“Everything we did in pre-season was for Rochdale.”

Sweeney, though, still hopes to see his gaffer negotiate one or two incomings before the end of the month.

We revealed yesterday that Pools are now reliant on the generosity of their North-East neighbours with the playing budget at its limit.

And Sweeney went on: “I’m sure the manager will be hoping to bring in a couple of players to help us and he’s working tirelessly to do that.

“Everyone knows, though, the financial constraints at the club and he’ll have to be wise.”