Donald Love is hoping his midweek cup success will allow him to “kick on” at Sunderland.
The 21-year-old, who began his debut season with the Black Cats by playing the first three Premier League games, did his chances of a return to the side a power of good.
I haven’t played for over a month fully so to get 90 minutes under my belt feels greatDONALD LOVE
Love played in midfield in Sunderland U23’s Checkatrade Trophy win at Hartlepool United, where he won praise for his display from first-team coach Robbie Stockdale.
The summer signing from Manchester United also got the side’s winner, a neatly-taken side-foot finish into Adam Bartlett’s right-corner on 63 minutes.
After having a testing introduction to life on Wearside, he has been an unused sub in three of the last four Premier games, though he has featured in both EFL Cup wins, against Shrewsbury and QPR.
He viewed Tuesday’s 1-0 win over the League Two side as not only good for the club but a boost for his own chances.
“I haven’t played for over a month fully so to get 90 minutes under my belt feels great and hopefully I can kick on now,” he said.
“It was a very young team but the lads have done well.
“Hartlepool tried playing but we had a plan to counter that, it worked, and we produced some good stuff and got the win at the end of the day.
“I want to stay in and around it because you never know when your chance is going to come.
“So I need to stay fit and keep focused because you never know when you are going to get thrown in.”
Love, talking to www.safc.com, said he was “settling in well” at the Stadium of Light.
“I have really enjoyed my time at the club so far,” he said. “Obviously it helped moving here with Paddy (McNair), but it feels great.”