THREE games, three wins, three clean sheets. Antony Sweeney has taken to management well with Hartlepool United.

The caretaker goes to Notts County today for what he accepts will be his toughest test yet, possibly Pools’ toughest of the season to date.

Whether he remains in charge for Tuesday’s home game with Solihull remains to be seen. Dave Challinor is expected to be at Meadow Lane this afternoon to see the team he could be taking charge of.

Sweeney won’t be affected by outside noise and what is going on around him. Entrusted with the task of keeping Pools ticking over until a new manager is appointed, he has won plenty of admiration for the job done.

He admitted: “The worst thing you can do it become complacent and think you have cracked it – football will come back and bite you on the bum when you think you have cracked it.

“Keep working to the principles which have got you where you are, especially the last three games, improve on what you have learned and take it game by game. Players want to be good all the time, not just in fits and starts.

“This will be the gauge of where we are at.

“We have won three, the key is to get more. But if it doesn’t go well on Saturday we have to remember it’s not catastrophic. It’s how you bounce back from that.

“If someone said we could win seven of eight, but lose one of them, you would take it. You don’t get too hung up on one result, take it in blocks. We have done three, we want four. If it’s not four then we look at the next one on Tuesday and go again.

“I believed in the players and believe we have enough to go to Notts County and take on Solihull at home and take the game to them.’’

Pools are 12th in the table, today’s opponents four points and five places ahead having played a game more. Like Pools they have won four of their last five.

Sweeney knows from experience what a long unbeaten run can do to a club. He was part of the Danny Wilson-managed team in 2006/7 that went 21 games without losing. Three down, 18 to go….

He recalled: “I’ve played in long unbeaten runs for this club. We went on a long unbeaten run a long time ago and I was asked what the secret is – I don’t know. It felt like it happened and no matter who it was, where it was, the thought was that we would win the game.

“Home or away, 1-0, 2-1, 5-0, it was different ways of winning and confidence came from it. How you get to that stage I have no idea and I guess if I did know then it’s a secret formula that would make you a lot of money!

“You have to build up and those runs take time, game by game and add to it. Three in now, hopefully four.’’

He added: “Pessimists look over their shoulder and say we aren’t far from the bottom, the optimists look up and see how we aren’t far off the top.

“It’s down to the players and I asked them last week how they want to go about this season and what they want to achieve and I think that still stands. Three wins, yes one in the FA Cup, but five, six wins has to the aim.

“Keeping three clean sheets brings confidence to the keeper and defenders – and Ben can’t keep a clean sheet without the players in front of him, midfielders and attackers too and they have to do their share. It’s a team thing, you can’t just judge the back five for clean sheets.

“Notts are probably, as we stand now, the toughest we will have. They play some good football and while they lost at Chesterfield they dominated possession but didn’t have a cutting edge – I thought it was something we could exploit and then on Tuesday they go and score four away from home.

“Maybe Chesterfield was the exception and they are coming strong after a summer of upheaval. We will have to be at our best.’’