Hartlepool United captain Ryan Donaldson praises the role of caretaker manager Antony Sweeney

Ryan Donaldson was has paid credit to Hartlepool United caretaker manager Antony Sweeney for bringing some stability after a turbulent few days.

Monday, 14th October 2019, 4:45 pm
HARTLEPOOL, ENGLAND SEPT 7TH Hartlepool United's Ryan Donaldson reacts after going close to scoring during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Woking at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 7th September 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News )

Sweeney took charge of his first training session at East Durham College this morning with spirits more optimistic following Pools’ 3-0 win at Aldershot Town on Saturday afternoon.

And when reflecting on the past few days, Donaldson feels the club can start looking forward despite a spell of uncertainty.

“I have to say, fair play to Sweens and Gucks [caretaker assistant, Ian McGuckin] because they’ve handled things unbelievably well,” admitted the Pools skipper.

“Sweens told us it’s been really hard for him and it’s been hard for us but he’s just told us that thing will turn if we keep working and focus on putting the small things right.

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“They’ve reassured us and made it really clear what our plan is and they deserve a lot of credit the pair of them.

“The way they’ve handled themselves and us has been outstanding and I hope they’re pleased with that.”

A criticism of Hartlepool so far this season is that they’ve struggled to find the second goal in games and see them out comfortably. The only game in which they have scored the opening two goals saw them throw away that lead late on against AFC Fylde.

And Donaldson was relieved to rectify that at the EBB Stadium as the side secured their biggest win of the season so far thanks to goals from Josh Hawkes, Gavan Holohan and Nicke Kabamba. Hawkes also missed a penalty in the first half but it didn’t prove costly.

“Our sticking point this season has been not getting the second goal,” added the 28-year-old.

“We could have let it get the better of us after missing the penalty.

“I should have taken it! Josh has had a good record and because he scored earlier on, I fancied him but he’s off them now, he’s bottom of the list, behind Raynesy!

“But Gav was unbelievable when he can on so when he scored, it was a big weight off our shoulders and the third goal was brilliant as well. It was a perfect away performance.”