Hartlepool United stalwart Micky Barron feels now is the "right time" for former teammate and Pools legend Antony Sweeney to take on a new challenge

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Former Hartlepool United captain Micky Barron said he felt it was the right time for Pools legend Antony Sweeney to leave the club.

Sweeney, a teammate of Barron's and fellow member of the side that reached the League One play-off final in 2005, will leave Pools this summer after more than two decades of service.

As a versatile midfielder with an eye for goal, Sweeney made 444 appearances for Pools, making him one of just eight players to have played more times for the club than Barron.

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After brief spells at Carlisle and Gateshead towards the end of his career, Sweeney turned to coaching, taking up a position at Pools in 2016.

Barron believes now is the "right time" for his former teammate and close friend Antony Sweeney to seek out a new challenge.Barron believes now is the "right time" for his former teammate and close friend Antony Sweeney to seek out a new challenge.
Barron believes now is the "right time" for his former teammate and close friend Antony Sweeney to seek out a new challenge.

Since then, he has coached the under-16s, worked with the youth team as well as the first team, had four separate spells as caretaker and was an integral part of Dave Challinor's promotion-winning staff in 2021.

However, as often happens when a club makes a managerial change, there was a wholesale reshuffle of the backroom staff earlier this month that saw new boss Darren Sarll bring in former Stoke, Watford and Port Vale defender Carl Dickinson as his assistant, while experienced midfielder Nicky Featherstone signed a new player-coach contract.

A little over a week after the departure of previous manager Kevin Phillips, the club confirmed that Sweeney would also head for the exit when his contract expires, with the hugely popular 40-year-old expressing his "pride and pleasure" at being able to represent the club for so long.

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And, while like most supporters Barron was sad to see Sweeney leave, he admitted he felt it was the right time for his friend and former teammate to seek out a new challenge.

"It was a shame," he said.

"He was in a similar position to what I was in when I was there, manager's come and go and it's difficult.

"You have to do your best to change the way you've been coaching to fit with the new manager's style, it can be tough.

"Every manager has different ways of working and you've got to quickly learn and adapt to that. I think that's one thing Sweens did really well.

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"It is sad to see him go. I think, if I'm being honest, it's probably the right time for him.

"He needs to go somewhere else and see a different style, a different club and a new environment.

"I'm just really, really hoping he gets that chance.

"He's great with the players and he's a great coach.

"I've spoken to Sweens quite a lot over the last few weeks and I think he's going to try and get back in as quickly as he can - I just hope he gets that chance."

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