Scott Harrison, Liam Donnelly go on trial again for Hartlepool Unites

Hartlepool United's Scott Harrison

Hartlepool United's Scott Harrison

Craig Hignett will again give Scott Harrison and Liam Donnelly further chances to impress when Hartlepool United visit Livingston tomorrow, writes Roy Kelly.

The central defenders are both on trial at Pools, who take on the Scottish Championship outfit at the Almondvale Stadium (kick-off 3pm).

Both played well when they came on as second-half subs against Sunderland on Wednesday night.

Harrison got the best part of half-an-hour against his former club, while Donnelly, released by Fulham in the summer, played the final 21 minutes.

Hignett will include them in his squad tomorrow.

The Pools boss has made no secret of the fact that he would love another centre-half.

It does not take a mastermind to work out that Matthew Bates and summer signing Toto Nsiala will be his first-choice combination.

Hignett has the giant Rob Jones up his sleeve too, plus Carl Magnay and Josh Nearney who can both fulfil central roles.

But the door, it would seem, is open to either Harrison or Donnelly.

Harrison’s previous appearance was not his finest hour, when it all went horribly wrong for him in an 11th-hour call-up at Bristol Rovers.

Pools suffered a 4-1 drubbing though Harrison was not alone on the night in having a below-par display.

He did not feature again and, worse still, broke a bone on his foot and never got the opportunity to show new boss Hignett and first-team coach Curtis Fleming what he could do.

“We’ve not closed the door at all on Scott,” said the manager.

“We said ‘come back in pre-season, get fit and we’ll see where you are and see what we can do’.”

A fit and in-form Harrison would be a boost to Pools – in the early months of last season, he was Pools’ best defender and only lost his place after a harsh sending-off against Crawley allied to the arrival of loan man Adam Jackson.

The 22-year-old did his cause no harm against Sunderland, defending strongly as Pools kept a second-half clean sheet while he put himself about in the oposition box as Pools forced a series of corners.

Donnelly also put himself about and made his mark with a couple of sharp tackles.

Capped once by Northern Ireland at senior level and numerous times at Under 21 level, he did not get to play at Fulham, who her skippered in the FA Youth Cup final in 2014.

The 20-year-old spent two months last season on loan at Crawley Tow but the Dungannon-born player is now a free agent.

“We’ve known about Liam for a bit and had good reports about him,” said Hignett.

“He looked all right when he came on which is good considering he’d only been with us for two days.

“We need a good look at him and we’ll decide where we are after that.”