Hartlepool United’s Antony Sweeney fired up for new season

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ANTONY Sweeney can’t wait for the season to come around – but he is happy to wait for his testimonial year.

Sweeney is due a testimonial, having clocked up 10 years service at Hartlepool United.

But the 27-year-old, who is currently hard at work training in the boxing gym during his summer “holiday”, says he will be patient and is currently enjoying the testimonial programme of Pools legend Ritchie Humphreys.

“A testimonial has been mentioned but only because of the fact I’ve already been here for 10 years,” said Sweeney, who made his debut in October 2001 when he came on as a sub in the 3-0 win over York.

“But, to be honest, that’s at the back of my mind.

“I’m only 27 and, body-wise, I feel I have still got a few years ahead of me in the game.

“I see a testimonial as a bit of a swansong really and I’m not ready for anything like that.

“It will be a really nice thing to have when the time comes, but I’m not in any great hurry.”

The only thing Sweeney is in a rush for is the start of the 2011-12 npower League One programme.

The midfield marvel finished the last campaign with 14 goals and three player of the year awards.

There was even talk of neighbours Middlesbrough coming in with a bid for the Stockton-born player.

But Sweeney was “happy” to sign a new deal at the Vic, where excitement is mounting – over 1,900 Poolies have already bought season tickets and first-team coach Mick Wadswiorth has snapped up Nolberto Solana.

“It is exciting,” Sweeney said. “But all the seasons are the same for me – once you finish one you can’t wait for the next one to come around.

“Obviously signing someone like Nolberto Solano, who has been a magnificent player in the Premier League, will bring his experience and quality to us.”