Alberto Noguera is ready to fill the gap left by Ludo Sylvestre’s exit from Bloomfield Road.
That’s the view of Blackpool boss Paul Ince after seeing the young Spaniard return for pre-season in fine fettle.
The 23-year-old arrived from Athletico Madrid last summer but failed to break into the first team and spent most of the season stuck in the club’s development squad.
But he has been given a fresh start this summer and looks to have caught the eye.
“Alberto is a very good player,” said boss Ince. “I can see a different person and player than the one we saw last year. I think it was hard for him last season, being with the development squad and not being involved in the first team.
“But in training he’s been brilliant. The way he keeps the ball is excellent.
“He’s only young and he needs coaching, but when you see the way he glides past people and brings people into play, you see what a good player he is. He’s going to be a fantastic asset for us.”
Noguera managed only 20 minutes in a Blackpool shirt last season, coming on as a substitute in the 6-0 win over Ipswich. He struggled to adapt to life in England and Ince revealed he had off-field issues on his mind following the death of his mother.
The manager added: “I looked at Alberto last season and I think he had a lot on his plate.
“He had worries back home with his mother and it was tough for such a young kid.
“It was really sad to hear about her passing away last month. It’s bad news for everyone.
“But hopefully he is dealing with that well and it seems like he wants to do everything to make his mum proud.”
Pool have plenty of options in the midfield area, but none you would describe as an attacking player.
Barry Ferguson, Angel Martinez, Isaiah Osbourne and Chris Basham are all better suited to defensive roles.
But Ince thinks Noguera could step up to fill the gap left by Sylvestre and fellow midfielder Tiago Gomes.
“When you lose someone like Ludo, you need someone to step up and maybe Alberto could step into his shoes,” said Ince.
“With his feet, passing and vision, there’s no reason why he can’t. He’ll get better and better, and I think he feels he’s got a chance now.”
Pool have added three more friendly games for the coming week.
They will play an un-named side behind closed doors on Saturday, then visit Kendal Town on Tuesday and Witton Albion next Thursday. Both those away games will kick-off at 7.30pm and spectators are welcome.