Hartlepool Utd star faces old pal against Leyton Orient

Neil Austin reaches to win the ball ahead of former Pools player Leon McSweeney. Photograph by FRANK REID

Neil Austin reaches to win the ball ahead of former Pools player Leon McSweeney. Photograph by FRANK REID

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NEIL Austin is used to being at close quarters with Leyton Orient wideman Leon McSweeney – the pair of them roomed together on Hartlepool United away trips for two seasons.

And tomorrow, should they be pitched into direct battle against one another, Austin will have no qualms about leaving his mark on his old pal.

“Leon’s a good pal but football is football,” declared the ever-present defender.

“We want to end our home season with a win and they’re still fighting to stay in the league, so it should be a decent game.

“But I know Leon’s desperate to get a result because they need it right now.”

McSweeney was released by Pools last summer after two seasons at the club.

During that time he shared a room with Austin, and the jovial Irishman was a popular character in the Victoria Park changing room.

“I was room-mates with him for two years and we still keep in touch,” he said.

“He was absolutely crackers – he was like a 12-year-old – but he was good fun.

“He’s a great lad though, he was popular among the team and I was sad to see him go.”