Darlington handed boost ahead of Hartlepool clash - but Sunderland ace ruled-out of derby meeting

Sunderland loanee Williams Kokolo cannot feature for Darlington against Hartlepool
Sunderland loanee Williams Kokolo cannot feature for Darlington against Hartlepool

Darlington star Harvey Saunders will be able to feature against Hartlepool United in the Durham Challenge Cup this evening.

The youngster recently completed a move to League One side Fleetwood, before returning to Blackwell Meadows on loan until the end of the season.

And the Quakers have confirmed that the promising midfielder has been granted permission to feature against Pools in the Durham Challenge Cup - representing a boost for manager Tommy Wright.

However, Sunderland loanee Williams Kokolo will now be eligible to feature for Darlington having already played for the Black Cats in the competition this season.

Tonight's meeting between the two teams (7:30pm kick-off) will be the first time Hartlepool have travelled to face their near neighbours for 11 years, and both sets of supporters are relishing the chance to renew their historic rivalry.

The significance of the tie isn't lost on club staff either, with Darlington assistant manager Alan White acknowledging how 'big' of a game tonight's clash is.

And he confirmed that the hosts will be taking the derby meeting seriously when it comes to their squad selection.

"It's a big game and will be a great atmosphere," said White, speaking to Darlington's official website.

"It's one that we want to win in a cup competition that is useful because it allows us to give youngsters and players out of the first team some game time, especially in the early rounds.

"Because it's Hartlepool, we obviously aren't going to be playing kids.

"It's great for the club because it creates a buzz and there should be a great crowd."