COLIN Cooper believes Hartlepool United’s fans took Scott Harrison to their hearts during the side’s titanic struggle with Morecambe on Easter Monday.
The on-loan centre-half performed superbly alongside Sam Collins at the heart of the defence as 10-man Pools battled for a priceless victory.
And the 20-year-old would not be against returning next season if it was a deal Sunderland and Pools wanted.
Harrison has taken over from the gifted Christian Burgess and had shown flashes of good form in his opening three appearances as the on-loan Boro defender’s replacement.
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However on Monday, Harrison was magnificent, winning his headers and tackles, while spraying out a couple of eye-catching passes to the forward players.
Harrison, who joined Pools with fellow Sunderland prospect Connor Oliver, made only one mistake in the 90-odd minutes, allowing himself to be dispossed by Jack Sampson.
Other than that, he was Mr Solid.
His temporary stay has been a promising one but with Pools having sold Jack Baldwin to Peterborough and unlikely to regain the services of Burgess, there could be an opening for a centre-half next season.
Cooper used the loan facility successfully to get Burgess from Boro and could explore that avenue for Harrison.
The Middlesbrough-born defender could not have picked a more difficult time to join Pools, who were in the middle of a six-game losing run.
But he’s enjoyed playing in League Two for Pools after an early season loan stint at Bury stalled.
“Bury did not work out well, after I got there the manager who signed me was sacked,” said Harrison, who made only one sub appearance for the Shakers.
“When I was in the youth team I did play at Darlington in the Conference.
“That was tough because I was a lot younger and smaller then.
“This is the longest I’ve been on loan in the Football League.
“I’ve loved it here. You want to play when you are out on loan, play on Saturday afternoons in front of fans, so it’s been brilliant.
“I have another year at Sunderland and then I’ll see what happens after that.
“I’d like to go out on loan again if that is what Sunderland want.
“I’d love to play first team football again.
“It’s been brilliant here. It’s a club on my doorstep and the lads have been fantastic to me and Connor.”
Meanwhile, Dave Brown has gone agonisingly close to glory in the Football League’s Groundsman of the Year awards.
Brown was on the shortlist for the League Two prize, which was handed to Fleetwood Town’s Dale Frith.
Both Brown and Plymouth Argyle’s Billy White were highly commended.
Middlesbrough’s Tony Bell has been named the best groundsman in the Championship.