Antony Sweeney assesses 'difficult' second spell as interim manager at Hartlepool United as club look to make permanent appointment
Hartlepool United interim manager Antony Sweeney has found the role ‘difficult’ second time around.
Sweeney stepped into the managerial hot-seat on a temporary basis following Dave Challinor’s departure at the start of November.
As we approach December, the Pools legend is preparing the side for Saturday’s League Two trip to Port Vale (3pm kick-off).
While Sweeney has had a somewhat successful temporary spell having guided the team to the second round of the Papa John’s Trophy and FA Cup, the league form has taken a nosedive.
Following the 5-0 defeat at Leyton Orient in what proved to be Challinor’s final game, Pools have been beaten 2-1 by Newport County and 3-1 by Forest Green Rovers and Swindon Town respectively.
Admittedly, it has been a difficult run of fixtures for Pools against opponents in and around the play-off and automatic promotion places. But four straight league defeats have seen the side slip to 15th.
"As an interim manager, you try to leave the club and the team in a better position,” Sweeney said. “For whatever reason, that has been difficult.
"Whether that's down to the quality of opposition we've played, whether it's on us not playing too well, whether it's tactical errors, we've got to figure those things out.
"A new manager coming in has to work with the current players we have and we've known all along that we're tied by a transfer window.
"As a football club, we've got to stick together and find a way to navigate through some tough ties and some tough fixtures in the next six weeks and hopefully come January there are fresh players to come in and give everyone a lift and add a bit more quality to the squad.
"The timing of our promotion, although we were ecstatic it happened, it was always going to be difficult to assemble a squad that would be competitive at League Two level knowing the quality of players you come up against.
"The turnaround was a short period but that's a small excuse because we know we can be better in games and taking Leyton Orient and Forest Green out of it, we've been in the majority of games this season.
"But these games are defined by big moments and at the moment we're not winning enough of them.”