Hartlepool United defender Scott Harrison appreciated the different kind of challenge posed by Sunderland’s youngsters in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Recalled to the starting line-up for the North East derby, Harrison was up against a pacy and energetic Sunderland front line - something he doesn’t experience on a regular basis in League Two.
With Harrison being used to facing big, physical centre forwards on a weekly basis, the introduction of a fleet-footed trio of Sunderland attackers was certainly a change.
And while admitting he prefers the physical battle, Harrison said Sunderland’s youngsters were nothing like a fourth division front line and that the back four had to adapt to their different style of play.
“On Saturday at Grimsby, I only played five minutes but their striker was a big, strong lad,” he said.
“With Sunderland they work hard and when they’re around you they’ll try and put their foot in and knick the ball.
“It’s a different type of test but in the same way they’re still pressuring you just in a different way.
“I like it against the big lads and it’s good to have a healthy battle with them.”
Pools fell to a 1-0 defeat against the Black Cats, despite having their chances to snatch at least a point.
For Harrison, while he appreciated the test posed by the Premier League side, he felt the result didn’t fully reflect the game.
“They were a good group of lads from Sunderland and there were a lot of people I knew from being there in the past,” the defender added.
“We knew what to expect from them and knew they were going to be sharp and move the ball quickly.
“I thought it was a decent test for us and I didn’t think we deserved to get beat.”