Former Hartlepool United loanee Ellis Taylor scores a hat-trick as Sunderland under-21s reach Premier League 2 play-off final ahead of Black Cats release

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Former Hartlepool United loanee Ellis Taylor, who will be available on a free this summer, scored a hat-trick as Sunderland under-21s booked their place in the Premier League 2 play-off final in dramatic circumstances.

The Black Cats might well already be rueing their decision to release the 21-year-old winger after he inspired Sunderland to come from behind and beat Reading last night.

Taylor, who skippers the Sunderland under-21s, led by example as he bagged a hat-trick, including a last minute equaliser, to take the semi-final to extra time.

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Trey Ogunsuyi decided the contest in the closing stages of an end-to-end additional period but it was Taylor who took most of the plaudits, showing superb spirit to inspire his side just three days after finding out he would be released when his contract expires, having spent more than a decade at the Stadium of Light.

Ellis Taylor is certainly proving a point prior to his release by Sunderland. returned from an injury setback in recent weeks, with his contract set to expire this summer.Ellis Taylor is certainly proving a point prior to his release by Sunderland. returned from an injury setback in recent weeks, with his contract set to expire this summer.
Ellis Taylor is certainly proving a point prior to his release by Sunderland. returned from an injury setback in recent weeks, with his contract set to expire this summer.

Taylor, who was born in Hartlepool, endured an unsuccessful loan spell with Pools after catching then manager Paul Hartley's eye in a pre-season friendly in the summer of 2022.

Taylor started the season opener, a miserable 4-0 defeat to Walsall, but struggled to make much of an impression at the Suit Direct, playing just eight times in total before his season long loan move was cut short in January.

However, he arrived at Pools during a turbulent period for the club, had almost no time to prepare himself for the move and had no prior experience of men's football.

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Now, older and more experienced, having proven himself both a capable leader and talented footballer, earning praise from former Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray and scoring nine goals in 15 Premier League 2 appearances, he could well be worth another look.

Pools will need to sign at least one winger and Taylor, as a local lad, available on a free and with bags of potential, ticks a lot of boxes.

Whatever his future might hold, his immediate focus will be the Premier League 2 play-off final against Tottenham on Sunday.

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