Blackpool’s search for “next Vardy”

Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy
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Neil McDonald says Blackpool are searching non-league for the next Jamie Vardy.

The Seasiders manager has scouts attending games all over the country and has already begun to plan for the summer transfer market.

Fleetwood plucked Jamie Vardy from Halifax for just £150,000 in 2011 – now at Leicester, the striker is the Premier League’s top goal-scorer and an England international.

Blackpool tabled a £500,000 bid for Vardy in 2012 but were knocked back on the spot by Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley.

Four years on, McDonald said: “There are plenty of players out in non-league who maybe haven’t been given the chance yet

“Jamie Vardy is the shining light and we are doing our best to find the next one.

“There are plenty out there – it’s just a case of trying to find them.

“There are lots of scouts about trying to find the next one and we will be doing that.”

Blackpool have changed their transfer policy since the arrival of McDonald last summer, taking a much longer-term outlook to player recruitment.

Whereas Pool have started pre-season with only a handful of players for the past two years, most of the current squad are contracted for at least the next couple of seasons.

It means the loan market is less important for the Seasiders now, with McDonald insisting he intends to use it more as a trial for potential summer signings.

He explained: “We have tried to work ahead of the game in the transfer market.

“We want to work six months ahead if we can. With the loan system finishing next season, it was important we had players on permanent deals.

“The players we are looking to loan now will be players we want to sign in the summer.

“We are trying to do our homework, trying to be smart and trying to think ahead.

“If we can do that we may be able to have everyone in place before pre-season starts.”

The emergency loan window is now open, allowing Football League clubs to add players on short-term deals should injury or suspension strike.

The system is to be abolished after this season, and McDonald fears the lack of opportunities to send young players out on loan could stifle progress.

The Pool boss said: “I think it’s a shame they are closing the emergency loan. The big clubs recruit in such large numbers and not all players are able to get first-team chances.”