Sunderland partnership will make Hartlepool United stronger says Louis Laing

Louis Laing in action for Pools at Dunston UTS in midweek. Picture by BERNADETTE MALCOLMSON
Louis Laing in action for Pools at Dunston UTS in midweek. Picture by BERNADETTE MALCOLMSON

Louis Laing believes his friendship with Scott Harrison will make their defensive partnership even stronger at Hartlepool United.

The 24-year-old became boss Craig Harrison’s seventh signing of the summer at Victoria Park.

I know what Scott is good at. I know I can trust him in the air


And the former Sunderland centre-half made an encouraging debut in Wednesday night’s 7-0 win at Dunston UTS.

Laing played the opening 45 minutes before making way for triallist James Graham for trhe second half at the Ebac Northern League side.

While, no disrespect to the non-league side, it was ‘only’ Dunston, the Laing-Harrison double act looked as though they had been together years, not just a couple of training sessions and a first half in the sun at Wellington Road.

But the reality is, the pair have known each other and played alongside each other “for years”.

And in such a vital area of the team, Laing believes that could be a crucial factor for a National League promotion push.

“Sometimes, if you don’t know someone it takes time to develop an understanding,” said the Geordie, who grew up dreaming of wearing the black and white stripes of Newcastle only to wear red and white instead.

“I’ve known Scott for years, back to our days at Sunderland when we were younger.

“It definitely helps – I know what Scott is good at.

“I know I can trust him in the air. I’m always going to be around covering him, but I know that, nine times out of 10, he’s going to win the ball in the air.

“Knowing someone closely does help so we can carry the good relationship we have off the pitch onto the pitch.”

Laing looked a very good prospect in his teenage years with the Black Cats, only to be released in 2014 after injuries blighted his later times there.

He joined Nottingham Forest, but that move did not work out and he has had subsequent spells at Notts County, Motherwell, and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, making into double figure appearances for all three clubs.

Laing was released by Caley Thistle this summer and said he had no hesitation in joining Pools, despite the club now being outside the Football League.

Harrison the manager swung the deal – the new boss selling Laing his vision for Pools.

“The manager rang me four to five weeks ago,” he told SportMail.

“After meeting up with him, I was right up for it and my wife was happy to be coming back home, at least I think she is!

“It’s a pleasure to be here.

“As soon as I spoke to the manager, I knew promotion was the main aim.

“He told me his vision for Hartlepool, not just now but for seasons ahead.”

Laing was the magnificent seventh player through the entrance door, with another Tynesider making it eight yesterday, midfielder Conor Newton.

Keeper Scott Loach, defender Blair Adams, midfielder Luke George, and attacking talent Jake Cassidy, Ryan Donaldson and Jack Munns were already in situ.

Laing feels Craig Harrison has brought in not just talented footballers, but the right characters.

“He has signed good, hungry young players who will hopefully push hard for promotion and then sustain the quality for years to come,” said the ex-England youth defender, who is set to play at Harrogate Town tomorrow.

“If you are going for promotion, you need the right characters, players who are prepared to stand up and be counted and fight.

“I’ve only been in a few days but I’ve certainly seen that so far. Wednesday night proved that we have the winning mentality, we just need to keep it going.