Luke James can't wait to face Sunderland tonightIt's with a typically broad smile that Luke James recalls that when Sunderland visited Victoria Park last pre season he was a ball boy behind one of the goals.
The Wearsiders formed the opposition for Ritchie Humphreys' Testimonial last August and at that point James has yet to explode on to the First Team scene.
It's been quite a twelve months for the Amble-born teenager and he admits that playing against Sunderland - team he followed growing up - would provide further icing on the cake tonight.
"I was ball boy last year and that was amazing enough," he commented.
"I remember being behind the goal in front of the Sunderland fans and being gobsmacked to be so close to the players like Sessegnon and the rest of them.
"If I can get on at some stage against them tonight it would be a dream come true and a pretty nice story for me; it should be a good game and I'm really looking forward to it."
The 17-year-old burst on to the scene at The Vic at the turn of the year, but now he admits he feels a real part of the senior squad at Pools.
He's worked hard during the summer months on his upper body strength and he thinks that will pay dividends as his match sharpness improves in the coming weeks.
"Pre season has been hard but I've enjoyed it a lot so far," he explained.
"We've done a lot of running and the lads have worked hard; I think as a group we are fitter than we've every been at the moment.
"I spent a lot of time in the gym where I live in Amble during the summer. The programme I was given was to help me get bigger and I feel like it's working.
"I can feel that it is helping me on the pitch because I can hold the ball up better; the stronger I am the more time I will have on the ball because the opposition can't get it off you.
"I was pleased to get my first ninety minutes under my belt at Whitby the other night; I don't think I played my best football but I know I'll get sharper with more time on the pitch."