ANTONY Sweeney will always be one of Hartlepool United’s nice guys, but the long-serving star admits there is a “nastier” edge to the team this season, writes CRAIG HOPE.
And the 28-year-old says that hardened approach is the reason why Pools have what it takes to recover from their first defeat of the season against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
Gone, argues Sweeney, is the soft underbelly which had seen the side collapse like the proverbial pack of cards in the midst of a losing run in recent years.
Indeed, Mick Wadsworth has now labelled his men the “nasty boys” for their readiness to tear into one another if standards are falling short.
And Sweeney believes that in-house confrontation has transcended to a steeliness on the pitch.
“If something needs to be said then we’ve got people to say it,” he told SportMail today, as preparations continued for Sunday’s televised clash at Notts County.
“People aren’t shy to stand up and demand better, but that comes with confidence and winning games as well.
“In the past couple of seasons you were maybe scared to stand up and say something because others would have a comeback of ‘sort your own house out first’.
“But when it does happen you can’t take it personally because it’s for a good reason and that’s what gets you results.”
He went on: “We’re also a bit nastier on the pitch.
“That’s not something you can work on – you’ve either got it or you haven’t.
“Paul Murray is that type of player, Stephen Wright would have no problem lifting someone into the crowd if it needed to be done, Sam Collins will put himself about and Gary Liddle as well doesn’t pull out of anything – even if it breaks his cheekbone.”
FULL story in Tuesday’s Mail ...