COLIN Cooper believes Antony Sweeney is “not that far away” from a first-team return at Victoria Park.
The Hartlepool United skiper has had to exercise great patience both during and after his ecovery from injury,
Sweeney was injured in the first home SkyBet League Two game of the season and spent five weeks on the sidelines.
His return to fitness coincided with the start of a brilliant run of form by the team and Sweeeney has been stuck on the bench, making the ocasional late cameo.
The 30-year-old did remind Pools of his prowess in midweek, scoring in the 2-0 reserve-team win at Scunthorpe United.
“He is a consummate pro and that’s one of the reasons I made him captain,” said Cooper. “His heart and soul is in Hartlepool United.
“We’ve had conversations and he’s desperate to get back in the team and he’s not too far away.
“It might take an injury or a loss of form and Tony might be back in.
“He’s worked very hard to get fit and get his sharpness and he’s had no qaulms playing in reserve games.
“He has an incredible knack of scoring goals, which he did for the reserves this week.
“When we need him he’ll be ready to go again and that’s credit to him.”
Sweeney was an early scorer in the win at Glanford Park where Sam Collins’ side produced a good and dominant performance.
The Pools captain got on the end of Zak Boagey’s super through ball and beat keeper James Severn with ease.
Boagey and Jack Compton, getting some vital match-time, then brought good saves from the busy Severn.
Pools doubled their lead early in the second half, young defender Josh Nearney heading in from a corner.
Greg Rutherford hit an effort over as Pools looked to add to their tally.
The Iron struck the bar and post while Andy Rafferty pulled off a super save to deny Hakeeb Adelakun.