ANTONY SWEENEY has welcomed the appointed of Dave Challinor as Hartlepool United boss.

A month-long process to find a permanent replacement for Craig Hignett ended yesterday.

Sweeney took charge for the final time of an impressive stint as caretaker, as Pools went down to Solihull Moors at Victoria Park.

It was the only blemish on his five-games in charge, a period which has not only given him experience of management and a taste for it, but he has also proved his potential as a boss.

From today, however, he will be working with Challinor. The new boss was sat alongside Raj Singh and Jeff Stelling in the Cyril Knowles Stand.

He saw a team which failed to impress as much as they did at Notts County at the weekend and one which still has some way to go to become National League savvy.

The wily visitors showed how it’s done in this division, killing the game at every opportunity after they led and proving a stubborn side to break down.

If Challinor can instill some of that nature into this Pools squad then they can achieve success this season.

Sweeney, who the club insisted in their announcement yesterday will be nurtured and developed under Challinor, admitted: “It’s a good appointment. Credentials in this league, he ticks the boxes. I’ve met him briefly today and he seems a good fella and we meet again tomorrow.

“He hasn’t finished outside the play-offs too many times in his career, so he must be doing something right.

“Right now, it’s early and we’ve not got to the finer details of it. My role might be watching his messages, philosophy, sessions and taking things in. At this moment it’s a good thing he’s coming in.

“We can easily move upwards, but still teetering where we don’t want to be.’’

The pair will get together at the club’s Peterlee College training base this morning and Sweeney added: “I’m expecting to go through a lot of things. He will want to see the training facilities and we spoke briefly before the game, he let me crack on to get a result tonight but it wasn’t to be.

“It’s only one defeat in five and I can’t thank the fans enough. I’ve said before that it’s not only this last five matches they have been good for me, it’s been the majority of 14 years. They have followed the team through thick and thin and living in the town, I’ve tried to give them something to cheer about.

“It wasn’t to be today, but not for a lack of effort.

“My role will change, but it becomes a supporting role as well. We all want success and if the new manager is successful we are all successful.’’

Pools had an early worry as Michael Raynes left a pass to Ben Killip way short and the keeper did enough, reacting sharply, to get a touch on the ball to put off Danny Wright.

Gavan Holohan, fresh from scoring at Notts County at the weekend, got to the opposition penalty area and his left-footed shot was straight into keeper Ryan Boot.

Paul McCallum rasped a shot against the bar from 25 yards. His volley beat Ben Killip, but dipped onto the frame of the goal and bounced out.

Killip had to backpedal and make a vital and impressive save to keep out a free-kick from the left by Gavin Gunning that was curling in.

The visitors were looking more likely to edge ahead as they pressed Pools back and into making rushed clearances from the back. When Pools attacked they were stifled.

Seconds after the restart, Pools had another escape. Wright was in on goal on the right side, Killip raced out of his area to close him down, leaving the net exposed. A clipped finish was rolling in before Peter Kioso athletically chased back to clear off the line.

Moors were very well drilled and effective in what they did. They pressed Pools high to stop them playing through midfield and didn’t allow the full backs to get forward.

And Pools fell behind as Jake Beesley headed in off the post. Moors are masters of seeing games out like this when they go ahead, and so it proved with timewasting, gamesmanship to the fore.

Sweeney responded to going a goal behind by putting Luke Williams on, his second substitute outing in four days in an injury-ravaged season. Craig Hignett never got the chance to include him, now Challinor should reap the benefits of a fit Williams.

The caretaker boss said: “Luke was good, his first touch was to spray a pass in for Luke James – that’s the quality he’s got. It’s been a frustration for everyone. A fit Luke Williams in this league is a real asset and we are lucky to have him.

“He’s been out a long time and hopefully we can see him flourish.’’

He sent a curling shot wide from the edge of the area, so close to a dream Victoria Park return, and his introduction livened Pools up in an attacking sense.

Sweeney’s other two replacements were also of a forward nature, Niko Muir and Josh Hawkes introduced to try and engineer a way through the effective wall of yellow.

Williams almost had a leveller, his deep curling cross pushed from under the bar by Boot.

But it was another nearly night for Pools. They start another new era today.