FOLLOWING his Football League debut, there was an unexpected reception for Connor Oliver.
The midfielder, on loan from Sunderland, started his first game at the weekend, and his man-ofthe- match display for Hartlepool at Plymouth didn’t go unnoticed.
After being praised by manager Colin Cooper in the dressing room following the 1-1 draw, the rest of the Pools squad broke out into a spontaneous round of applause for the 20-year-old.
Oliver impressed from the off at Home Park and he admitted: “The players’ reaction was a nice feeling, it makes the journey back a lot better.
“The gaffer hinted I might be playing but you can’t take anything for granted.
“I’d thought the week before, when there were two games over Easter, I might have got in but that wasn’t the case, but Simon (Walton) getting sent off gave me the chance to come in and play.
“I feel comfortable on the ball no matter where I am on the pitch, whether I’m on the edge of the box or in the corner, you just have to be more careful in certain areas.
“You do feel the nerves but as soon as the whistle goes you forget about the crowd and everything at stake and just go out and play football.’’ Oliver was injured for the majority of last season and, while he can play full-back, it was in central midfield where he impressed at the weekend.
“I’ve had a couple of goals but having been injured I’ve not scored as many as I would have liked,’’ he admitted.
“I just got fit in January, so it’s been a case of getting match fit again since then and trying to play as many games as I can before the end of the season.
“It’s great having Scott Harrison here with me, not just on the pitch but in the changing room as well.
“But even if Scott hadn’t been here, all the lads have been great.’’
- Pools’ player of the year night takes place tomorrow evening at the Staincliffe Hotel in Seaton Carew. Tickets are £10.