ANTONY Sweeney has urged Hartlepool United boss Neale Cooper to unearth a 20-goal striker this summer – admitting he was a little embarrassed by the tally which renewed his top-scorer title.
At the turn of the year the midfielder had just two efforts to his name, only to rediscover his scoring touch under Cooper and reclaim his top-marksman prize with a return of nine, five short of his total 12 months earlier.
But Sweeney believes that a lack of goals throughout the squad is what ultimately cost Pools a shot at the League One play-offs, and he wants to see that rectified going into next season.
“If you’re going to finish top goalscorer it should be on 14 to 15, if not more,” he said.
“You’re hoping the strikers get 15 to 20 and that is what we need. Yes, it was nice to finish top goalscorer again, but nine isn’t enough.
“You have to look at the bigger picture and say it’s a disappointing return for the season.
“Overall we didn’t get enough goals from everyone – after myself it was fives, fours, twos and threes.
“All the lads know, myself included, they can do more and we need to take more responsibility.”
Indeed, Pools were the only team in the division to average less than one goal per game on home soil.
That saw attendances dip from an early-season high of 6,800 to the low 4,000s come the end of the campaign.
But with Pools unveiling their £150 season-ticket offer and Cooper promising at least four or five new faces, Sweeney hopes gates will again tip the 6,000 mark come August.
“The start of last season was brilliant – the whole town was buzzing,” he went on. “But then we all know what happened after October and from then on there were no real, top, entertaining games.
“There were a couple of 0-0s which were frustrating. It’s no excuse saying ‘we haven’t conceded today’ because the difference between one point and three points is huge.
“We’d honestly prefer 4-3s than 1-0s, because that brings more fans down and they’ll keep coming back.
“We’re hoping for another big uptake this summer because the more we get in, the more money there is towards new players.”