Hartlepool United caretaker manager Antony Sweeney on team selection difficulties following back to back wins

Naming an unchanged Hartlepool United side has led to back to back wins for caretaker manager Antony Sweeney.

Monday, 21st October 2019, 12:01 pm
Updated Monday, 21st October 2019, 12:58 pm
Hartlepool United caretaker manager Tony Sweeney during the FA Cup match between Hartlepool United and Brackley Town at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 19th October 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

After the 3-0 victory at Aldershot Town in his opening game, Sweeney’s decision not to change things for the FA Cup clash against Brackley Town was justified.

But given the impact of substitutes Luke James and Gavan Holohan at the EBB Stadium, their omission from the starting line-up at Victoria Park was a difficult call to make.

“I said to the lads how hard it was to pick the starting 11 but it was much easier to pick the bench,” Sweeney admitted.

Gavan Holohan scoring at Aldershot Town.

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“The message is clear and consistent, the team that starts the game won’t be the one who finishes the game and the one that finishes the game is more important.”

Midfielder Holohan has two goals and four assists in just four starts this campaign – only Gime Toure has had a hand in more Pools goals this season with nine.

Holohan came off the bench to grab a goal and an assist in an impressive 15-minute cameo at Aldershot but wasn’t rewarded with a place in the starting line-up.

Much like at Aldershot, the Irishman was introduced alongside James and Jason Kennedy during the game to help Pools see out the 1-0 win against Brackley.

“Everyone has got a vital part to play,” Sweeney added.

“There may be disappointment but I have to say the three lads who came on at Aldershot who probably thought they had a fair chance of starting the game took the news really well and all three came on today and impacted the game as well so that’s food for thought moving forward.

“Gav is an unbelievable pro. He just gets on with things and works hard.

“I’ve seen his disappointment when I’ve announced the teams but what I’ve said to the lads on the bench is that I intended using as many of them as I can.

“I told them to be ready because you’re going to affect the game in a positive manner and that’s exactly what they’ve done in the last two games.”