Former Sunderland defender thrilled to land new deal with Hartlepool United

Short of an Iceland winning the World Cup you will never get a greater footballing fairytale than Leicester City.

Friday, 24th March 2017, 1:15 pm
Pools' Scott Harrison battles against Exeter earlier this month. Picture by Frank Reid

The Foxes were rushing towards a return to the Championship when Nigel Pearson initiated a revival which Claudio Ranieri would carry all the way through to the Premier League title one year later in May 2016.

It was the same month that ex-Sunderland defender Scott Harrison was saying his farewells at Hartlepool United.

The centre-back made his exit at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium on the same day as Scott Fenwick and Harry Worley.

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So it is remarkable that just 10 months on, Harrison is not only in a blue and white jersey, he has just signed a new and improved contract.

And no-one, not even a critic of the 23-year-old, could say he has not deserved every cent of his deal.

Dave Jones has rewarded the Teessider for an outstanding run of form at the heart of the defence.

Harrison has been the mainstay at the back for the manager since his arrival .

In fact, the player has started the last 18 matches and, bar injury or a daft suspension, you can expect to see him in the next 18.

The turnaround in the life and times of Scott Harrison may not rival the drama of Leicester’s transformation, but it is an incredible tale.

“It was first mentioned to me a few weeks ago,” Harrison said. “I just kept it to myself, I didn’t want to jinx it!

“It’s great that it’s now sorted out.

“There’s nothing worse than going into the summer not knowing about the future.

“To have a contract, to be secure, feels brilliant, so much better than last year.”

Credit must go to Harrison AND former boss Craig Hignett for the way they approached a difficult situation last summer.

Having, shown him the door in May, Higgy did leave it ajar, telling him he was welcome to return to pre-season training in July to prove himself.

He did just that and he’s never looked back.

“Higgy told me he was releasing me but said I would be signed if I got myself fit and proved myself” he said.

“I was happy to come back in pre-season and do that.

“There was some interest in me from other clubs, but this was the club I wanted to play for.

“Higgy said he was pleased the way I had come back, gave me a contract and told me to go out and do what he knew I could do.”

Harrison’s axing had come as a mild surprise.

The pick of the defence in early-season, playing the first 18 games and scoring a superb goal against Carlisle, he suffered the misfortune of being harshly sent off in the home defeat by Crawley.

After he came back from suspension, Pools opted to go with the combination of Matthew Bates and Adam Jackson at the heart of the defence.

And luck was not on his side when Bates broke down in the warm-up at Bristol Rovers, where Harrison was put in the side at the very last minute. He was caught cold, with Matty Taylor running riot as Pools were blitzed 4-1.

He was not seen again.

“I don’t think I had any luck,” he explained. “It was never a sending off.

“I don’t begrudge sitting on the bench when there are people ahead of me playing well, but that night in Bristol was not a good one.

“I was told literally when the teams were in the tunnel and I was not ready.

“It’s my own fault – you should always be ready to play. I didn’t have a good game, but I wasn’t the only one, but it was only me who seemed to suffer.”

But just over a year from that fateful night at the Memorial Stadium, Harrison is now a different animal – confident, dominant and commanding. And those qualities will be required at Blackpool tomorrow, when Pools chase back-to-back away League Two wins, though the Seasiders are in great nick.

“They are unbeaten in eight,” said Harrison.

“But every run has to come to an end, I don’t see why it can’t be us that ends it.

“I’m really excited by the game – it’s going to feel like a home match.

“It’s a massive support we’ll have there and I know they won’t stop singing and getting behind the lads. The atmosphere is going to be amazing. I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully we can carry on where we left off at Cambridge.”