SCOTT Harrison admits he is experiencing a “steep” learning curve at Hartlepool United after the club dropped into the bottom two.
The 21-year-old, on-loan at the Sky Bet League Two club from Premier League neighbours Sunderland, believes playing every week will help him grow and develop as a player.
But it is tough going at the minute after defeats away to Northampton Town and Plymouth Argyle.
Harrison’s loan deal was due to expire after the weekend defeat at Plymouth but is has been extended for a further two months.
And the defender is pleased to be staying with Pools so he can play his part in helping them climb the table.
“It is a steep learning curve,” admitted Harrison.
“I am here to learn, it is a tough league but that is why I am here.
“That is what will make me better though, learning what it is about and growing into it.”
Harrison’s loan spell - his second at the club after a period at the end of last season - is certainly giving him a good grounding in the game.
By his own admission the no-nonsense centre back is making mistakes and he knows they will be punished at this level.
Harrison admits it is far tougher playing league football compared to the Under-21 matches he has been used to at the Black Cats.
But he is enjoying every moment of it. So far.
He added: “The physicality of the league is totally different to the Under-21s.
“It doesn’t really compare to be honest.
“Everything is much more physical. The Under-21s isn’t too physical and you can get away with certain things and don’t really get bullied off the ball.
“Whereas here, everything is a battle.
“I feel like I am getting used to it but the last week has been disappointing.
“I know I am a lot better than that and I need to cut mistakes out of my game.
“You have to fully concentrate all of the time otherwise you will get punished.”
Harrison joined Pools before the Wimbledon away match last month, and since coming into the side against Shrewsbury Town, he has been partnering club captain Matthew Bates at the back.
That partnership looks set to continue after Pools moved to secure the young defender for the remaining 60 days of the emergency loan window from their Premier League neighbours.
Harrison readily admits the club experienced a difficult week on the road with a heavy 5-1 defeat at Northampton and the loss at Argyle but he is adamant they can quickly climb the table.
Goals will certainly help and the defender believes once one goes in, they will start flying in.
That remains to be seen.
But the return of on-loan Middlesbrough striker Charlie Wyke to the starting line-up this weekend against Portsmouth at home will be a huge boost.
Wyke is the club’s top scorer after netting three goals in five games - including in his last game at Northampton when he scored in the first minute before being taken off with concussion.
When he isn’t in the team, Pools don’t look like scoring but Harrison is confident the goals will soon come.
Harrison told SportMail: “That will change, when one goes in they will all start going in.
“Hopefully that will start this weekend when Portsmouth come to Victoria Park and hopefully we can keep a clean sheet and get a few goals.
“That is what we need.”