The Durham-born striker spent a year at Newcastle United before heading to the Black Cats.
Hugill made an instant impression at United, being quickly integrated into the Under-23s side despite his young age and taking like a duck to water. That followed a two-goal debut in victory over Blackburn Rovers at The Cliff.
A tireless work rate rewarded the English forward with a prolific goalscoring record in Neil Wood’s U23s team, marked by a four-goal haul against Liverpool in Premier League 2. That saw Hugill become only the second Red from available post-War records to score so many times for the club in a single game against the Merseysiders. Steve James was the first.
After finishing on 10 goals in 11 starts (plus seven appearances as substitute) for the Under-23s, and 6 in 6 at Under-18s level, he was rewarded with promotion to training with the first-team squad in the 2021 close season.
A couple of injuries, including one picked up while on work experience loan at Forest Green Rovers, reduced Hugill’s game time in the 2021/22 campaign. The youngster soon got back into the swing of things with a run of five goals in five games in March 2022.