‘We never stop’ – Hartlepool United coach Antony Sweeney discusses pre-season preparations

Antony Sweeney has gone over a year without a break from his coaching duties at Hartlepool United, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 12:30 pm

The Pools legend and current first team coach returned to pre-season training on Thursday morning after a non-stop 2020-21 promotion campaign.

Including pre-season, the previous campaign lasted a full calendar year. Since then, players and staff have taken time off to rest and recuperate ahead of the League Two season.

Meanwhile Sweeney, among others, has continued to work and plan behind the scenes with pre-season now getting under way.

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Hartlepool United coach Antony Sweeney alongside manager Dave Challinor (photo: Frank Reid)
Hartlepool United coach Antony Sweeney alongside manager Dave Challinor (photo: Frank Reid)

“We never stop being busy,” he told The Mail.

“One of the down sides of going through the play-offs is you’re always going to be behind and playing catch up, this season more than most.

"I think looking at the Football League clubs, we’re probably about six weeks behind them.

"I’ve seen a lot of players tied up at other clubs that we would have had more than a passing interest in had we known we would be an EFL team.

"But we’re happy we’re in this situation and we’re more than happy to deal with the consequences of the way we got promoted.

"It is busy, we’ve got pre-season games to prepare for, recruitment, players to tie up and that’s going to be key to hopefully having another successful season.”

Pools are yet to make a signing since being promoted but they have now tied down two key players in Nicky Featherstone and Gary Liddle with Rhys Oates, Jamie Sterry, Luke Molyneux and Ben Killip still to sign new deals.

“It has been a case of keep working which I don’t mind to be honest,” Sweeney added. “I get bored when I’m sat at home but don’t get me wrong I would have liked maybe a week or two.

"It’s fine though because if someone had told me a year ago when we first started that I’d be working the full 12 months and then through the off season again but we’d end up being an EFL club, I would have snapped their hand off.”

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