Goals ace Tony Sweeney happy to see team-mates chipping in

Antony Sweeney comes away with the ball. Hartlepool United V Exeter City 2-0 03-09-2011. Photograph by FRANK REID

Antony Sweeney comes away with the ball. Hartlepool United V Exeter City 2-0 03-09-2011. Photograph by FRANK REID

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ANTONY Sweeney has already lost some early ground in his defence of the top-scorer title.

Not that the net-bulging exploits of Adam Boyd and James Poole are a concern to last year’s player of the season.

On the contrary, Sweeney is relieved that the goalscoring burden has finally been shared among the squad.

Last season he netted 14 times with the highest total posted by any of the club’s strikers being the four which Boyd bagged during his rare appearance.

Sweeney, who suffered a groin strain in just the second match of this campaign, has watched from the sidelines in recent weeks as Boyd and Poole have moved to the top of the scoring charts with three strikes apiece.

But the midfielder – who celebrated his 28th birthday on Monday – says he’s more than happy to see others leading the way.

“We need to share the goals around a little bit more this season,” he told SportMail.

“Hopefully, the players we’ve brought in will help with that but we’ve also got players here already who have goals in them. Even Sam (Collins) and Peter (Hartley) at the back know they need to get more.

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“Boydy has come back in brilliant shape and it’s great to see him banging them in.

“Of course I’d love to be top scorer again this year because it’ll mean I’ve had a good season and have stayed fit, but it would be nice if a few of us were giving each other a run for our money.”

Some of Sweeney’s efforts last term were often in vain, goals at Watford and Brighton coming during 4-1 and 5-1 defeats respectively.

And the Stockton-born star went on: “It was strange because we had a fair few clean sheets last season but had those stupid games where we’d concede four or five.

“I want my goals to be more important this year.

“It’s no good scoring 15 to 20 if they mean nothing, I’d rather score less and win more points with them.”

FULL story in Wednesday’s Mail ...