HARTLEPOOL United interim boss Antony Sweeney has delivered an honest assessment of the current state of affairs after suffering a fifth consecutive League Two defeat yesterday.

Pools fell to a 2-0 loss to Port Vale as they slipped to 17th in the league table.

After a strong start to the season, the departure of Dave Challinor alongside recent results have put a different spin on things as they go in search of a new manager and an upturn in form.

Sweeney has been in the dugout for nearly month as Pools conduct interviews with potential managerial candidates. He’s hopeful that the new boss can provide a much needed lift to the squad.

“This is not a blame game for the players, for the football club or for not appointing. There is all sorts of things that will go into the mix.

“We’ll have made mistakes as staff, that’s a guarantee. They are things that happen when you are a novice in this position whether that be team selections, substitutions, game plans.

“There’ll be times now when it’s hard but I’ll reflect on certain stuff. There are things that we have got right but for whatever reason hasn’t got the rewards and the success that it should of. I think that goes for the players as well.

“I think it’s easy to be really emotional now. I don’t want to sound as though I’m disregarding a losing streak, I’m not.

“It’s not panic stations, it’s not a case of being right in a dog fight at this moment in time. If things carry on, then that will eventually be the case but we’ve shown at various in times in games that we’ve got the right ingredients but we just can’t find the right mix for long enough.

“Hopefully a new manager will find that, I’m pretty sure there will be that new manger bounce that there tends to be. Assessing the full football club, I think it needs that.”

Former Boro head coach Jonathan Woodgate has emerged as the club favourite to take over.

Woodgate, 40, has been out of work since leaving Championship side Bournemouth following six months in charge on the South Coast where he led the side to the play-offs.