Connor Simpson announced his arrival at Preston with a hat-trick as the Under 18s swept aside Blackpool on Saturday morning.
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The 17-year-old, a £50,000 January arrival at Hartlepool, helped Nick Harrison’s side to a 5-2 win at the University of Central Lancashire Sports Arena.
Adam O’Reilly and Mike Howard were also on target.
Boss Alex Neil said earlier the week he would have no hesitation in throwing in Simpson if he showed he was ready to step up after just a handful of games in the National League.
On this form that might come sooner rather than later, the 6’5” teenager opening the scoring just seven minutes in before scoring two goals in quick succession just after the hour mark to take the game beyond Blackpool.