Hartlepool Utd’s Sweeney to get inside track on Oxford

Antony Sweeney on the bench during the game against Accrington Stanley. Picture by FRANK REID
Antony Sweeney on the bench during the game against Accrington Stanley. Picture by FRANK REID

ANTONY Sweeney is planning to get the inside track on Oxford United from pal Ritchie Humphreys.

That is providing he can “get a word in edgeways”.

Humphreys is the man of the moment.

He became a dad for the second time eight days ago when wife, Amanda, gave birth to a baby boy.

The Hartlepool United legend marked the happy event in style by scoring his first goal since signing for the Spireites in their 1-0 win at Oxford United.

And it got even better when yesterday he was named as the new chairman of the Professional Footballers Association.

“He’s still going on about the goal he’s scored,” laughed Sweeney.

“I haven’t been able to get a word in edgeways.

“I’ll speak to him today to find out what they are like.”

And Sweeney believes Pools can follow in the footsteps of Humphs and beat the U’s tomorrow at Victoria Park.

The skipper, on the comeback trail after recovering from a calf injury, hopes now is the ideal time to be playing the U’s.

“When you are on an unbeaten run and then you lose one, they say the next match is the most important to make sure you don’t turn it into two,” said the 30-year-old.

“That can be difficult, one minute you are feeling unbeatable and the next you have a bit of a set-back

We are at our place, so hopefully we can get on the front foot and I’m sure we can get the three points.”

Sweeney is moving closer to a full first-team return after playing three-quarters of Wednesday night’s reserve-team 2-1 win over Scunthorpe United.

He was feeling his calf a little on Thursday morning but hopes it is just a bit of stiffness.

“You can do all the running you want but the actual match fitness is what I’ve been lacking so I was really pleased to get a game in,” he said.

“Training sessions can be stop-start so you can get a breather in.

“But in a match you can be bouncing up and down the field for three or four minutes before the ball goes out of play.

“It was exactly what I needed so I was glad to get 70-odd minutes in.”

Sweeney has been on the bench for the last two League Two matches and understands why he has not made it into the starting XI.

“It was may be a little bit early,” he said. “I think the gaffer himself would admit he’d have liked me to have had a reserve game under my belt.

“But I got a virus and missed the Mansfield game which I had to wait a full week for the next reserve match.

“Obviously it is hard for a manager to put you in after you’ve had a few weeks off.

“He’s got to think ‘is it too soon?’, ‘could he break down again?’, ‘has he got the match fitness under his belt?’.

“If someone gets injured early doors but then you are struggling after 60 minutes then you could be wasting two substitutions.

“I can understand where he is coming from but when Brad [Walker] got a little injury it was a case of needs must and I went on the bench for the Accrington game.

“I was more than happy and I was all right for 15-20 minutes.”