Hartlepool Utd wants points from Walsall before enforced break

Antony Sweeney in action against Oldham Athletic. Picture by FRANK REID
Antony Sweeney in action against Oldham Athletic. Picture by FRANK REID

ANTONY Sweeney does not want to contemplate a two-week break with the lingering hurt of another defeat being allowed to fester.

Pools have a fortnight off after tomorrow’s trip to Walsall having been dumped out of the FA Cup at the first-round stage by League Two Chesterfield.

Regardless of the result, Sweeney agrees that the free weekend gives new boss John Hughes much-needed time to enforce his ideas at Maiden Castle.

But the 29-year-old admits it would be a far happier camp if Pools were to break their 18-match winless run in the West Midlands.

“There was a situation a couple of weeks ago when we had a break for the cup game and we said ‘listen, we need a result here to take with us’,” said Sweeney.

“That was before the game at Brentford and we got a 2-2 draw.

“That helped us that week and I remember everything was positive in training.

“Of course, what followed at Chesterfield (6-1 defeat) wasn’t good enough, but the principal is the same.

“The two-week break might be beneficial in terms of the manager getting things across in training, but it won’t half be better if it’s on the back of a win.

“That aside, we desperately need the points no matter if we’ve got a game the next day or the next month, we need a win.”

Sweeney has been impressed by Hughes during his first week at the helm.

The midfielder has been a favourite of every manager he has worked under at Victoria Park, and he is forecasting a good relationship with the Scot.

“He’s been very good,” said Sweeney, “He’s tried to change things already, although he knows you can’t change too much – you can’t go from the position we’re in to playing like Barcelona.

“He’s said himself that playing like that can invite pressure and we might have to be a bit more dogged to begin with.

“But as the season goes on and we get used to it then I think it’s the right way to play.

“The fans will hopefully enjoy watching it, as daft as that sounds when you’re bottom of the league.

“But that’s not the new manager’s fault.

“He’s got his own philosophies.

“The training has been sharper and long term I think he’ll be fantastic for us.”