Former Sunderland centre-back driven on by Hartlepool United reality check

Pools' Scott Harrison (blue) battles against Accrington Stanley in Monday's 2-2 draw
Pools' Scott Harrison (blue) battles against Accrington Stanley in Monday's 2-2 draw
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Scott Harrison has revealed the reality check of seeing life outside football has made him determined to succeed at Hartlepool United.

In the summer, the former Sunderland trainee was facing up to a career away from the game, having seen his contract at Pools run out.

And he knows now, for sure, it’s not something he wants to return to.

With Harrison staring down the barrel and out of work, Craig Hignett offered the powerful centre-back a new deal at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium, albeit on reduced terms.

And it is fair to say that Harrison, one of Pools’ stand out performers of the last month, has barely looked back.

The defender, Pools’ goalscoring hero at Accrington on Monday, netting a late leveller to secure a 2-2 draw, is keen to grasp his second chance with both hands. “I don’t have anything I can take with me and use in any other working environment,” he said.

“I haven’t really got any skills outside of football, so I had to knuckle down.

“I had to grow up, because football is all I know.”

Hignett revealed last week that it was the way Harrison lived away from the park that let him down.

And when asked, Harrison was in no mood to deny it.

Harrison added: “I am trying to work as hard as I can to keep my place in the team. I think I have done that.

“It has been a good few weeks. I’m just happy to be back in the team. I have just tried to keep my head down and work hard.

“Last season, I had a bad year. I am the first to admit that. It feels good to be in good form - the challenge is staying in form.”

Grimsby are Pools’ League Two visitors on Saturday and Harrison believes the players can take confidence from the performance at Blundell Park earlier this season, where Pools dismantled the high-flying Mariners 3-0.

“Grimsby is a big game,” he said. “We beat them 3-0 at their place, but they are not a bad team.

“They have big strong players and are doing well, so we know it will be tough.

“Hopefully we can go one better than Accrington and get the win.”