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INTERVIEW: All about getting fit

8 July 2015

Antony Sweeney on his goal against Blyth Spartans

We spoke to midfielder Antony Sweeney about his fantastic volley against Blyth Spartans and about pre-season so far.

"It's been a while since one of them flew in," he admitted. "I was speaking to Broughy [Patrick Brough] on the bench during the first half and we saw one of the lads miss a decent chance with a volley. I told him I would stick one in during the second half - but I didn't think I actually would!" 

"I asked Danny [Kearns] for the ball back as he was running with it," he explained. "I knew if wasn't a decent one I would have had to bring it down and give it to someone else. Fortunately it was perfect. It's one of those where sometimes they end up in the car park and other times they end up in the back of the net. Thankfully it was the right outcome for me.

"It's been a long time since I hit the back of the net, never mind score from a volley like that, so I would have taken anything to be honest."

"The second chance I had was probably easier than the one I scored," he told us. "When you're in the box like that you tend to automatically think you haven't got the time to bring it down but I think, looking back at it, I probably did. I needed to let it come down a bit further so I'm sure I'll be disappointed when I see that again." 

On the process of getting fit for the new campaign, he said: "There's no substitute for playing games. We've done a fair bit of running during pre-season, and we trained this morning before the game, but it's on the pitch where you get your real fitness.  

"It's a pre-season friendly so it's all about getting fit. We've came through the game with no injuries and we've won, so we're looking forward to the next one now 

"Towards the end of both halves we got a bit sloppy but I think that's to be expected when it's the first game of pre-season. By the time the last game comes around we'll all have our match sharpness."

"You do start to get the buzz again when the pre-season games start coming," he said. "There's a lot of new faces in the squad so we're all getting to know each other and it's good to see them on the pitch where the real football is played. Players can look good in training but it's during matches that you find out their true character."

On the discussions he's had with the manager, he said: "I'm a professional football player so all I can do is be professional. It's not always going to be easy, and it hasn't always been easy, but I'm the type of person to give 100% whenever I'm out there.

"If it's enough it's enough. If it isn't you try and give a little bit more. I've played with a few players who spit the dummy out and it never seems to get them anywhere. I prefer to just get my head down.

"You've got to back your own ability. I still feel I've got things to offer the team and the dressing room, so it's up to me to show that. If I get picked in the games that's where I'll try and do it." 

"Pre-season has been tough," he concluded. "It seems everyone else is getting quicker and stronger and I'm just staying at the same pace! 

"I know I'm never going to win the races, but I haven't been anywhere near the back, which is good. If I can keep in that middle group and try and push on we'll see where we're at come the start of the season."

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