Gary Bowyer has admitted his Blackpool squad’s strength in depth is giving him a selection headache.
A host of fringe players and youngsters were given a chance to impress in the recent cup successes against Kidderminster and Everton U21.
Among them was Michael Cain, who impressed with two intelligent displays in the centre of midfield as Pool progressed to the next stage of both the FA Cup and the Checkatrade Trophy.
However, the Leicester loanee currently has Danny Pugh, Jack Payne and Jim McAlister ahead of him and has a challenge on his hands to fight his way into the starting 11 for today’s home game against Notts County.
“He’s in good competition in that position,” Bowyer said. “In the last two games the captain (Danny Pugh) has come back and has been unbelievable with his experience.
“Jack Payne has come in and has shown what a good player he is. It’s also been tough on Jim McAlister, who gives absolutely everything to the cause.
“Cain is another one and we have four good midfielders who I would be comfortable playing in any league game.
“Michael’s provided the competition and that’s the most important thing. It would have been very easy for him to come in for the cup games and go through the motions, but he didn’t and that shows his character.”
Bowyer also has three forwards fighting for places, with Armand Gnanduillet, Mark Cullen and Danny Philliskirk all staking a claim in the Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy victory at Goodison Park.
The manager added: “Armand came in when we had a load of injuries to the frontline and started the season well, but we just felt we needed a change so he hasn’t played for a while.
“Mark has been unfortunate because he scored a wonderful goal at Barnet but then picked up an injury at a time when he was the main striker because everyone else was injured.
“Football being football, he picks up an injury himself when everyone comes back and then Kyle (Vassell) has taken off, so he can class himself very unfortunate as well.
“Danny provides a completely different option but anyone who was at Goodison will have seen their application and the way they worked.”