ANTONY SWEENEY can sit down safe in the knowledge he is handing Hartlepool United over in a positive manner.

His five-game tenure as caretaker boss ended with defeat on Tuesday night, the only blemish in his impressive stint.

Dave Challinor was announced as the club’s new chief shortly before Tuesday’s game, yet to be rubber stamped before he officially takes control.

Sweeney and Challinor met at the club’s training ground yesterday morning and it was no surprise for the caretaker that the new man was going to be watching the last two games from the stands.

“The club have been nothing but honest with me throughout the period,’’ admitted Sweeney.

“I had been prior warned before the announcement. They have always kept me in the loop and kept me informed in terms of what they were doing and who they were speaking to – giving me reassurances I would be part of the plans.

“A lot of clubs wouldn’t do that, allow you to crack on and keep you in the dark.

“I’m pleased the club has hopefully found the right man.’’

Sweeney added: “I hope I’ve made a positive impact. It’s a club which has had some challenges and it doesn’t matter if you are in charge for one game, five games, one hundred or more but an influential figure at the club if you leave the club in a better position than when you started then you have done a decent job and I would like to think I have done that.

“Notts County on Saturday, those first 44 minutes were the highlight. It would have been easy for the players not to invest in what we did – spend a lot of time looking at Notts and how they played and devising a plan to counter it.

“Me and Ian thought about it, pictured it, but it wasn’t as good as it really was. We were so close to winning it in such a good manner.

“It was two proper clubs, in a proper ground, with brilliant fanbases – not manty in this league take 800 fans to an away game, it was a proper game but there was a sense of satisfaction how it played out.’’

Pools are at Yeovil on Saturday in the FA Cup, with the squad back in training this morning.

Challinor sat alongside chairman Raj Singh on Tuesday and Sweeney said: “He will have learned there are some good players, we can win games, we have deficiencies and can strengthen and areas we need to improve on.

“We are more than a match for anyone on our day, but we need more days, more consistency.

“Over the last three weeks we have had consistent results, but not on Tuesday. Me and Ian wanted to get a sense of enjoyment back and we wanted to get more attacking players on the pitch.’’