CIARAN Donnelly is preparing to take the Peter Clarke route to success.
Like the former Everton defender, midfielder Donnelly has dropped down from the Premiership to try and kick-start his career with the Seasiders.
It's worked for Clarke, who has been earning rave reviews all season, and 20-year-old Donnelly is hoping for the same after moving to the coast from Blackburn Rovers on a free transfer.
"I look at Peter Clarke, who has come down and is now looking like a really good player," said Donnelly. "I want to do well for Blackpool, but at the same time I want to do the best I can do and I want to play at the highest level I can.
"I am going to take Peter Clarke as an example of what I could possibly achieve."
Former Beacon Hill and Claremont Primary School pupil Donnelly has signed a contract which will keep him at his hometown club until the end of next season. After that, there is an option to keep him for a further year.
"There are some really good players here, who I am looking forward to joining up with," added Donnelly.
"There is good competition for places and I know I've got to work as hard as I can to get in the team.
"I am looking forward to it because I know the potential of this club and I know they are ambitious to do well. I want to be part of that."
Donnelly played at Blackpool until he was 14 – in the same Centre of Excellence team as Jamie Burns and Matt Shaw – but then left to try his luck at Rovers.
"They have a great academy at Blackburn, and when you are 14 and someone tells you that you could possibly play in the Premiership, you can't turn that down," explained Donnelly.
"I learned a lot at Blackburn and had some good times there but I'm glad to be back at Blackpool. It's my chance to start making a mark."
And there are plenty of people in the town glad to see Donnelly back. As well as having friends and family here, Donnelly also impressed many supporters during a loan spell at Bloomfield Road last season.
"I saw a lot of people about who recognised me and asked if I was coming back. They said I did well last time I was here," he added.
"One reason I've come back is because I know so many people here. I know the people I'm coming to play with and work for, and I know a lot of people in the town, so it is a really good opportunity for me."
Donnelly started training with his new team-mates in Lytham today and will be in the squad for Saturday's home clash with Doncaster.