ANTONY Sweeney’s slump in form had dragged on so long that the midfielder was running out of options in his bid to reverse it.
New football boots, a change of diet, a different gym routine, all avenues had been explored in his quest for an improvement in performance.
On Saturday, during the 2-2 draw at Brentford, it finally arrived.
It was Sweeney’s cross-cum-shot which deflected off Harlee Dean and into the back of the net for Pools’ first at Griffin Park, and he was in the vicinity when Tony Craig headed through his own net for a last-minute leveller.
SportMail pressed the 29-year-old for the reason behind his man-of-the-match display, and he admitted the decision of Micky Barron – caretaker boss following Neale Cooper’s resignation – to switch to a 4-5-1 formation had afforded him a little more freedom.
“I have tried everything to get my form back,” he revealed.
“Even going back the Adidas boots I scored quite a few in.
“As bad as it sounds, but when you’re out of form you will try anything.
“I tried getting in early, doing extra weights, less weights, changing diets, everything.
“Anything which can give you an edge.
“Countless footballers go through bad spells and sometimes if the team is playing well you can ride it out.
“But with our team not doing so well my form has been magnified even more.
“It’s difficult because you go home every weekend and you’re scratching your head and you can’t really watch football.
“But I felt I did a lot better and I’ll credit Micky because he freed me up.
“Hopefully as the season goes on I’ll get better and better and so will the team.”
Sweeney will today make the claim to be awarded Pools’ first, admitting that the sight of his name on the scoresheet would be a welcome tonic.
“When you’ve had the season I’ve had you’ll try to get anything,” he said.
“Seeing your name on the scoresheet might just be the spur I need, and I’m sure he (Harlee Dean) doesn’t want it either.
“I’ll try to claim the first one and if someone wants to be so kind as to give me two then I’ll not complain.
“Three of us jumped for the second and then all of a sudden it was in the back of the net.
“But that was a bit of luck that we badly needed.
“It’s just a relief to see it hit the back of the net when you’re struggling, whether it’s from me or anyone else.”