Sunderland’s loanee Harrison on standby for Hartlepool United start

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ON-LOAN Sunderland defender Scott Harrison could land his starting debut for Hartlepool United against Chesterfield on Saturday, writes ROY KELLY.

Harrison is on standby, with first-choice centre-back Christian Burgess facing a race against time to be fit for the clash with the promotion-chasing Spireites.

Burgess hobbled out of Fratton Park last weekend after injuring his ankle late in the defeat by Portsmouth.

Pools will “continue to assess” the on-loan Middlesbrough defender.

But if Burgess is ruled out, boss Colin Cooper says he has no qualms about selecting Harrison in his place as he looks to arrest Pools’ losing run.

The Sunderland centre-half played almost 20 minutes after coming on for Burgess against Pompey.

Harrison looked assured at the heart of the defence and Cooper will be happy to put his faith in the 20-year-old should Burgess not recover for the visit of promotion-chasing Chesterfield.

“I’ve seen Scott play a few times and he’s not dissimilar to Christian,” said the manager, a former centre-half himself.

“When I’ve watched him at Under-21 level for Sunderland, he looks strong and confident.

“Playing in the Football League is a step up from development football, but he’s had a bit of a taste of it already at Bury.

“He’s settled in here well and he did all right on Saturday when he came on at Portsmouth.

“We will continue to assess Christian, but I wouldn’t have a problem in playing Scott.

“It would be a good test for him against one of the promotion chasers who are not short of goals.”

Teessider Harrison and his fellow defensive Sunderland colleague, Connor Oliver, were signed from the Black Cats as cover in defence and midfield should Pools lose Burgess, Sam Collins or Simon Walton to injury or suspension.

Cooper has seen enough in the pair to have faith in playing them in League Two.

“I’ve seen them both play in the Sunderland U21 side and we had an 11 asode game last week they played in,” he said.

“I’ve said from day one that I wouldn’t have a problem in putting either of them in the team.

“Both can handle a football and both a physically strong and technically good.”

Pools’ Reserves lost 3-1 to Mansfield last night, after going ahead with a Callam Wood strike in their last Final Third Development League match of the season.

H Manchester United will begin their pre-season tour of the United States with a friendly against Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on July 23.