Ex-Sunderland defender is Hartlepool United's leader of the pack

Scott Harrison might view being the senior man in the Hartlepool United defence as 'a bit mental' but he's loving his role as the unit's leader.

Tuesday, 7th March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:51 am
Scott Harrison pointing the way for Pools. Picture: Frank Reid.

It could, of course, be coincidence or simply good play, but the 23-year-old is showing the sort of form which made him such a favourite at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium after his move from Sunderland three years ago.

The whole back five of Kenton Richardson, 17, Brad Walker, 20, Harrison and Liam Donnelly, 20, in front of keeper Joe Fryer, 21, have been outstanding, especially during the wins over Crewe (4-0) and Exeter (3-1).

Harrison says has relished the responsibility.

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“I’m in a bit of good form and it’s been nice hat people have mentioned it,” he told SportMail.

“I know I’m not old myself but I’m just trying to help keep the younger lads right.

“I feel it’s important for me to do that, to talk more and be more demanding of the lads.

“I think it helps the lads when there is a lot of communication and I think it has shown in our performances.”

But it’s not just a case of Harrison barking out the orders and watching as the rest do the graft.

Far from it, the Teessider is not frightened to put head and body in the mix when the boots are flying – he even picked up a stitch or two in his head in the recent draw with Plymouth.

Leading by example is something which comes naturally to him.

“I do think the lads will respond when they see you putting your head in there,” said Harrison.

There were doubters who feared the worst when Matthew Bates was lost to the defence at Luton Town last month.

Boss Dave Jones moved Brad Walker from midfield to centre-half and those who feared the worst have been force to eat humble pie.

Walker looks as though he was born to play there and he and Harrison have looked ultra comfortable as a combination.

“Brad settled in straight away,” said Harrison. ”He listens and we talk to each other all the way through games.

“Obviously he’s big, physically-strong lad which helps, he’s good in the air and very calm on the ball.”

The defensive unit will be sent out again at Notts Country on Saturday when they will be on the pitch together for the fourth game on the spin.

Such continuity can only help, as can the form of the man between the sticks.

Fryer has displaced Adam Bartlett and with number one goalie Trevor Carson out for the remainder of the season, the on-loan Boro stopper is set to see out the entire programme.

“Joe is sometimes a bit eager, he’ll come running out when a defender can deal with it,” said Harrison.

“But he is a top keeper – some of his saves have been unbelievable.

“All our keepers are quality shot-stoppers but are not as big, Joe is a big lad and has size on his side.

“He’s been brilliant.”