Antony Sweeney’s back to give Hartlepool United a big lift

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ANTONY Sweeney has again defied the medics and will climb from the treatment table in an attempt to fire Hartlepool United to League One safety, writes CRAIG HOPE.

That is the hope of boss Mick Wadsworth, who will welcome his 13-goal marksman back into the starting line-up for tomorrow’s visit of Yeovil.

It was feared Sweeney’s season was over when his ankle felt the full force of on-loan Sunderland midfielder Liam Noble’s two-footed lunge during last month’s 1-0 defeat at Carlisle.

The midfielder, nicknamed “Lazarus” by Wadsworth as a result of his healing powers, somehow returned just four days later to start, and score, during the 2-0 win over Plymouth.

However, Sweeney suffered a deep ankle gash in the closing stages of that game and again Pools’ medical team thought their star scorer was set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

But the 27-year-old returned to full training this week and, barring an adverse reaction in the next 24 hours, will start tomorrow.

Wadsworth, who will be without the suspended Gary Liddle for the next three matches, said: “The good news is that Tony Sweeney is looking fine and we’ll see how he does today.

“Sweeney’s last game was our last win, against Plymouth. He’s had a very good season and he gives the team energy and the knack of arriving in the right place at the right time.

“We’ve not scored a lot of frontline goals this season, but he has made up for it. He’s been very important and in many cases we have built the team around his forward running and being able to attack from full back.

“He’s an important player, but we’ve had good results without him. But with Gary Liddle out it’s nice he comes back in so it’s not as bad as it might have been.”

Wadsworth could hand forgotten man Adam Boyd a shock recall – after his stunning volley in Wednesday’s 3-0 reserve-team win over Leeds.

James Brown (ankle) and Neil Austin (calf) are definitely out, while Andy Monkhouse (hamstring) faces a race against time.

The manager added: “Boydy has looked fine the last few weeks, in training and everything.

“He’s looked as good as he has all season, so he’s definitely in consideration.”