Antony Sweeney to leave Hartlepool United after agreeing two-year deal at Carlisle United

Antony Sweeney  in action against Accrington Stanley. Photograph by FRANK REID
Antony Sweeney in action against Accrington Stanley. Photograph by FRANK REID
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ANTONY Sweeney has left Hartlepool United after agreeing terms on a two-year deal at Sky Bet League Two rivals Carlisle United.

The midfielder, who had made 444 appearances for Pools, was offered a deal to stay at Victoria Park but he has turned it down in favour of a switch to the Cumbrians.

The 30-year-old found first team opportunities hard to come by under Colin Cooper last season, turning out 23 times in 2013-14 but 19 of those were appearances from the bench.

Today Carlise United, managed by Graham Kavanagh, have confirmed he has agreed terms with them over a two-year deal that will keep him at Brunton Park until the summer of 2016.

During his time at The Vic, Stockton-born Sweeney scored 62 goals and experienced two promotions and two relegations.

“Antony fits the type of player we have been looking to recruit this summer,” Kavanagh told his club’s website.

“He has experience at this level and he’s a man in terms of the way he plays his football.

“He’s strong and he’s capable of going box-to-box which, in turn, helps when it comes to getting or creating goals.

“I’ve had a long chat with him and I know he’ll slot in to the way we want to do things on and off the pitch, which is going to be hugely important for us this season.”

Sweeney’s first ever start for Pools was in a 3-1 win over Carlisle United at the beginning of the 2002-03 season.

A Pools statement added: “Everybody at Victoria Park would like to wish him all the very best in his future career.”

The attacking midfielder came through the ranks at Pools and made his first team debut at just 18 when he was a late substitute in a 3-0 win over York City in October 2001.

He was the club’s top scorer in 2010-11 when he contributed another 14 as Pools continued to establish themselves in League One and he went on to win the Fans’ Player of the Year Award.

Sweeney hit the net a further nine times during 2011-12.

At the start of last season Cooper made him captain but he was struck down with an injury in the first home game and struggled to regain his place in the side.

He then suffered another injury blow after coming on as a substitute against Mansfield Town in March, that proved to be his last in a Pools shirt.

Sweeney’s 444 appearances for Pools in all competitions see him sit third in the all-time rankings behind Watty Moore (472) and Ritchie Humphreys (543).