NEAL Eardley has revealed that frank talks with Blackpool manager Michael Appleton resulted in his first-team recall.
The defender had found himself out of the picture at Bloomfield Road – having played in Appleton’s first game in charge against Bolton on November 10, he didn’t feature again for the rest of 2012.
But after going to see the boss to find out the reasons behind his axe, Eardley has won back his place at right-back for the last two games.
He revealed: “I went in to see the gaffer. I didn’t have a bad attitude and storm in, or anything like that. I just went in to ask if there was anything I’d done wrong or could improve on to get back into his side. He told me I needed to work on some defensive things and that’s what I’ve tried to do.
“Over the last few weeks, I’ve kept my head down, done what the manager asked of me and I’m pleased to be getting my chance now.
“Hopefully I can get a little run now.”
Right-back is an area Appleton is trying to strengthen during this month’s transfer window.
Pool remain in talks with Barnsley’s Scott Wiseman, who would offer direct competition to the Welshman.
But Eardley is hopeful his recent good form will keep him in the starting 11.
“It’s important I get some good performances under my belt now,” he added.
“The most important thing is that we get the results, but hopefully I can stay in the team and help us do that.”
The 24-year-old is in his third season at Bloomfield Road since moving from Oldham.
He’s been a first-team regular for most of that time, so admits he found it hard being out of the side. Eardley said: “The Hull game on New Year’s Day was my first in close to two months and I thought we were unlucky not to win. We had much more of the ball than them.
“It was nice to keep a clean sheet, though, and had it not been for a world-class goal on Saturday we would have had another against a Premier League team (Fulham). It would have been nice not to have conceded there.”
Eardley’s Pool future looked in doubt during his spell out of the team, especially when Wolves visited at Christmas.
Alex Baptiste moved to centre-back because Craig Cathcart was ill. Many therefore expected Eardley to return at right-back but Appleton chose an out-of-position Chris Basham there instead.
Many felt that game signalled the end for Eardley but he didn’t see it that way.
He recalled: “I was ill the the day before the Wolves game and maybe that made a difference. I turned up for training but had to go home.
“Bash did well at right-back and at times I did wonder if there was a way back in. You have to just keep working hard and that’s exactly what I did.