Ex-Sunderland winger can inspire Hartlepool United to safety

Nathan Thomas. Picture by FRANK REID
Nathan Thomas. Picture by FRANK REID

Scott Harrison is backing his former Sunderland team-mate Nathan Thomas to spark a Hartlepool United revival.

Thomas was the first permanent signing made by Ronnie Moore of the January transfer window, bringing the tricky winger from Mansfield Town for an undisclosed fee.

He puts in dangerous balls, we need to get people on the end of them

SCOTT HARRISON

The 21-year-old made a dream debut in the 1-0 over Wycombe, setting up the winner for Scott Fenwick.

After being less effective at Accrington, he was left out of the side at Cambridge, only to return with a vengeance in the 2-0 defeat to Exeter.

Thomas was a livewire down the Pools left side and even had three great chances of his own, ultimately taking none of them unfortunately.

But with a busy run of games, the first three being at Victoria Park, Harrison is confident the Sunderland product has what it takes to transform Pools fortunes.

“Nathan was brilliant [against Exeter],” said Harrison. “He was so positive and that’s what we need.

“He may be could have had a goal or two but he puts in dangerous balls, we need to get people on the end of them.

“If he plays like that every week then our players can feed off what he does.

“More people can now make the runs [into the box] because they know the ball’s coming in and we’ll hopefully get a few more goals.”

Harrison knew what his fellow Teessider was capable of - even before Thomas gave him the proverbial roasting when Pools visited Mansfield last November.

The defender remembers him as jack-in-box winger at Sunderland.

“He’s always been like that,” said Harrison.

“I was the year above him at Sunderland but he played in our team a few times.

“Nathan has always played the same, positive and direct.”

Thomas spent a couple of seasons at the Academy of Light though never featured for the Sunderland senior side.

The Middlesbrough-born player left Wearside at the age of 18 for Plymouth in the summer of 2013.

Thomas had a good spell with the Pilgrims, ironically scoring his first competitive goal for them in a 2–0 victory against Pools early in the 2014-15 season.

A subsequent move to Motherwell was not productive – Thomas made only two SPL appearances – but Mansfield revived his career and now Moore will hope Thomas can revive Pools.