Hartlepool United in for Sunderland loan pair

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HARTLEPOOL United boss Colin Cooper hopes to tie up a double deal for Sunderland pair Scott Harrison and Connor Oliver before today’s 5pm emergency loan deadline.

The League Two outfit have seen their play-off push falter over the last week after back-to-back defeats to Oxford and Mansfield left Pools nine points adrift of the top seven.

Cooper was an interested spectator in Sunderland Under-21s’ 1-0 win over Fulham on Monday afternoon, where both Oliver and Harrison were second-half substitutes for Kevin Ball’s side.

Former Sunderland loanee Cooper confirmed after Pools’ 4-2 defeat against Mansfield on Tuesday night that he was looking to add fresh faces on loan before the deadline.

Cooper said: “I have already put something in place which will hopefully happen before the deadline. I am looking to bring a couple in, if nothing else.”

One of the players Cooper is looking to bring in is a centre-half and Harrison fits the bill.

The former Darlington youngster spent a month on loan in League Two with Bury earlier this season, albeit he only made one appearance from the bench for the Shakers.

But the 20-year-old has been a regular for the U21s during the campaign after making 15 appearances for Ball’s men.

Oliver, meanwhile, only returned to full fitness just before Christmas after spending almost a year on the sidelines through injury.

But Oliver, capable of featuring in either defence or midfield, has looked bright since coming back into the fold, making his seventh appearance of the campaign against the Cottagers.

Meanwhile, Cooper has welcomed the timely return to fitness of right-back Michael Duckworth.

The 21-year-old, out injured since suffering soft tissue damage in the 2-0 defeat at Northampton a month ago, returned for Tuesday’s 4-2 defeat to Mansfield, employed in a right-side midfield role.

Cooper described it as a “big boost” especially given injuries to Marlon Harewood (ankle), Antony Sweeney (hamstring), Darren Holden (back spasm) and Jack Compton (hamstring) against the Stags.