JORDAN Hugill is relishing the intense derby day atmosphere that awaits Hartlepool United at York City – IF he shakes off an eye injury to make the starting line-up.
The on-loan Preston North End striker was forced off after a couple of minutes in the 1-0 Easter Monday defeat to Southend United after taking a bang to the eye.
The 22-year-old couldn’t continue as a result of blurred vision and he is being assessed by the club’s medical staff ahead of the trip to Bootham Crescent on Saturday.
It would be a major blow if the Middlesbrough-born striker doesn’t make it, after impressing with his strong work ethic and eye for a goal.
Pools will be backed by 2,000 travelling supporters at York and Hugill admits he “thrives” on playing in the big games.
Ahead of the crunch clash, Pools are third bottom, while relegation rivals York are 19th in Sky Bet League Two, five points above Pools.
“I thrive on those sort of atmospheres,” Hugill told SportMail.
“The fans have been brilliant at home recently and it would be great to take that atmosphere away to York City.
“To take 2,000 fans away with us is a great effort and it will almost feel like a home game for us.
“If they can replicate the noise levels, then it is even better for the team.”
Hugill has been touched by the support he has received by the Pools fans since joining on loan on the final day of the emergency loan window, replacing Ryan Bird, who was recalled by Cambridge United.
“The fans have given me a fantastic reception and I really appreciate that,” added Hugill.
“To get a standing ovation on my debut [against Cambridge] at the end was great.
“It is great to be playing in front of more than 5,000 fans at home.”
Pools boss Ronnie Moore is hoping Hugill will be OK by the weekend, but knows if the 22-year-old does not make it, that veteran striker Marlon Harewood is up for the fight after a battling display against Phil Brown’s Southend side.
Harewood is expected to start alongside Jonathan Franks, if Hugill doesn’t make it.
Scott Fenwick started for the reserves last night as he builds his fitness after almost two months out with an ankle injury.