Stephen Wright is an instant hit at Hartlepool United

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STEPHEN Wright admits he was like “a kid on Christmas Eve” ahead of his shock Hartlepool United debut on Saturday.

The 31-year-old ex-Sunderland defender was still a free agent on Friday before Pools boss Mick Wadsworth moved to secure his services in time for the visit of Exeter City.

Fast forward 24 hours and Wright was marshalling Pools’ backline as they enjoyed a clean sheet in a 2-0 win which lifted them to sixth place in League One.

And the ecstatic Scouser, who has been training with the club in recent weeks, said: “It’s great to be back.

“I can’t tell you how pleased I was to sign – I had more energy than the kids!

“There are a lot of footballers who can’t get a club.

“I have had to wait and the frustrating thing is that teams think you are after megabucks to sign for them and it’s not the case - all you want to do is play football.

“At the top level, there’s players who won’t move on big wages and that’s what hurts the most – you just think ‘show a bit of balls’ and play.”