Antony Sweeney: North East return was a factor for Gateshead midfielder

Anthony Sweeney
Antony Sweeney made 58 appearances in his two years at Carlisle United

Gateshead midfielder Antony Sweeney is pleased to be returning to his native North East after leaving League Two side Carlisle United.

The 32-year-old joined the National League side following his release by the Cumbrians at the end of last season after a two-year spell.

Sweeney, who is originally from Stockton-on-Tees, spent 13 years at Hartlepool, making 444 appearances.

"It obviously was a factor," Sweeney said of the region's appeal.

"I've got a young family at home, but it wasn't the be all and end all. I was quite happy to move away if needs be but luckily enough I didn't have to.

"Everything fell into place here and I'm quite confident we'll have a decent season and it'll prove a good move."

Matched ambitions

Sweeney was manager Neil Aspin's sixth addition this summer, which has now risen to 13 following the addition of left-back George Smith.

Chairman Richard Bennett who along with wife Julie took over the club in May 2015, have targeted the Football League and maintained the club's full-time status.

"It's always been a club - with me being from the North East - that I've looked out for on the results and followed," Sweeney added.

"I sat down with them and he [Bennett] discussed the plans he wanted to do and they matched my own ambitions, which I've made no bones about.

"I still feel I can contribute in league football and hopefully that will be with Gateshead."

Possibility of promotion

The Tynesiders began their pre-season training on Wednesday as they look to push for promotion to the English Football League for the first time in the club's history.

Sweeney, who spent his entire career playing in the Football League, says success in non-league can be transfer to the higher tiers of the English football pyramid, as Crawley, Stevenage and Fleetwood Town have previously shown.

"Its momentum, it's all about momentum", admitted Sweeney.

"If you can get out of this league, I'm not sure there's a great deal of difference between League Two and the National League.

"So if you've got that momentum and you go into that league, you can carry that on quite easily."

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