Donnelly's bid to copy Clarke

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.