COLIN Cooper has confirmed that Antony Sweeney will be the new captain of Hartlepool United.
The 29-year-old skippered Pools for the fourth time this summer during Saturday’s stalemate with Middlesbrough at Victoria Park.
And Cooper has told SportMail that it will be Sweeney wearing the armband when the League Two season kicks off in less than a fortnight’s time.
“I purposely feel that I want someone with the heart and soul of the club to be captain,” he said, “I think Tony is the heart and soul of the club as we stand at the moment.
“He lives in the town, he loves the town and is champing at the bit to play every week after the season he had last time.
“So I see him as a natural. He’s been here a long time.”
Sweeney is the club’s longest-serving player but has never captained the side on a permanent basis.
Peter Hartley replaced Sam Collins as skipper midway through last season but Cooper decided to explore all of the candidates within his dressing room.
He told SportMail during the recent tour of Holland that the likes of Collins, Hartley and Neil Austin were all under consideration.
But the 46-year-old believes that Sweeney boasts all of the attributes which he is looking for in his leader.
“You have people who are genuine leaders on the field and in the dressing room – I think Tony has the whole thing,” he went on.
“He knows the club inside out and has the respect of the dressing room so I don’t think you can ask any more.”
Meanwhile, Pools will send a relatively young side to face Billingham Town at Bedford Terrace tomorrow evening (kick-off 7pm).