Double boost for Pool

Ian Evatt
Ian Evatt
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IAN Evatt and Gary Taylor-Fletcher have handed Blackpool a double fitness boost.

The pair have missed almost all Michael Appleton’s games in charge so far because of injury.

But Taylor-Fletcher is expected to be among the substitutes for today’s home derby with Blackburn after a month on the sidelines.

The striker limped out of Appleton’s first match, the 2-2 draw against Bolton, with a hamstring injury but has been in full training all week.

Evatt’s recovery is more of a surprise.

The defender was expected to face months on the sidelines after a scan showed a rare knee injury.

But after three weeks’ full rest, he is hoping for the all clear to return to training next week.

Appleton said: “Fletch will be in the squad for the Blackburn game.

“Having him back is a big boost for everyone.

“Evo is improving all the time and isn’t too far from training now.

“With a bit of luck we might see him back on the training ground next week.

“A lot will depend on a scan he’s having, to see how much of an improvement there’s been.

“From his point of view, his knee feels much better

“That’s why he’s been much more encouraged by the last week or so.

“It may be a situation where we have to manage him until things settle down properly.”

While Appleton says Taylor-Fletcher is fully fit, it’s unlikely he’ll risk the frontman from the start, especially with a busy Christmas period ahead.

The manager added: “Whether he’s ready to start is doubtful, but just having him in the squad will give everyone a big lift.

“He’s not played for five weeks, so I’m sure he’ll be desperate for his chance and will take it. He’s a massive option for us.

“From my point of view, if someone got injured after five minutes I’d like to think Fletch would be fit enough to come on.

“He’s a big talent. He can play in three or four positions, so he definitely gives us options.”

One player who will definitely play from the start this afternoon is Bob Harris.

The Scottish defender has had to be patient since Appleton’s arrival, failing to play a single minute of first- team football.

But following regular left-back Stephen Crainey’s fifth yellow card at Crystal Palace last weekend, Harris will be in the starting 11 against Rovers.

Appleton said: “You have to be patient when you are behind someone like Stephen Crainey, who is a very consistent performer with a hell of a lot of quality.

“Bob has had to be very patient and that’s how it’s got to be.

“You want people to be ready when they are called upon, and hopefully that will be the case with Bob.”