Hartlepool Utd hope to find the net in Holland

Antony Sweeney
Antony Sweeney

ANTONY Sweeney and Hartlepool United today return to Holland hoping to sharpen the attacking edge which last year saw them emerge goalless from their pre-season tour.

Pools, then under the care of Neale Cooper, failed to score as they were beaten by the same pair of opponents they will face this time around - Almere City (0-3) and Telstar (0-2).

Sweeney – top marksman during the previous two campaigns – was one of those who struggled for goals, ultimately returning just two during the entirety of the subsequent season.

Indeed, Pools were the lowest scorers in the Football League last term with just 39.

Winger Jack Compton has been added in a bid to inject some pace into the attacking unit, while the arrival of a new centre-forward is also expected over the coming weeks.

But Sweeney insists that his own contribution from midfield must also improve.

“A lot of my game is about goals and, until last season, I’d got quite a knack of arriving in the box at the right time,” he told SportMail.

“Things were falling for me and I was top scorer for a couple of seasons during which we were pretty comfortable in the division.

“But last year we struggled for goals as a team, not just me.

“I had a couple of problems with fitness and didn’t really get a rhythm going like I had done.

“It goes without saying I need to improve on my goals return but first of all I want to make sure I don’t have some of the silly niggles I had last year.

“If that’s the case and I get a run then I know the goals will come.”

Without them, Sweeney admits life will be a struggle no matter the division Pools populate.

“If you don’t score goals as a team then you’re going to find yourself down the table, whether that’s in the Premier League or League Two,” he went on.

“We know that’s probably the area we need to improve upon the most.

“With one or two hopefully coming in in that area it will help.

“But we all need to do our bit and it’s something we’ve talked about.”