GARY Taylor-Fletcher was due to face his old club Huddersfield today, hoping for his first start since returning from injury.
The forward has endured a frustrating time recently after tearing his hamstring during Michael Appleton’s first game as Blackpool boss against Bolton.
But after appearances from the bench against Blackburn and Wolves, he’s expected to be handed a start this afternoon.
“It’s nice to be back involved with the lads,” he admitted.
“Coming back makes you feel part of the set-up again, so I was delighted to be back involved in the last two games.
“It’s hard when the rest of the squad are in and back out by half 12, and you’re stuck there on your own until three or four o’clock.
“I’ve seen how good the training is with the new Gaffer, and how the lads are out for a good hour and a half every day training solid.
“Training has been more intense and I can’t wait until I’ve had a good month under the new manager, I think it will make me much more sharp.
“His in depth preparation about our opponents really helps too.
“He’s come in, tried not to change too much about our attacking play, but he’s tried to toughen us up a little bit.
“He wants to build a solid defence which we can go and attack from.”
Taylor-Fletcher is a popular figure at Huddersfield, playing on more than 80 occasions for the Terriers before moving to Bloomfield Road in 2007.
It’s the first time he’s been back to the John Smith’s Stadium, and the 31-year-old can’t wait.
“I had some great times there, they gave me the platform to prove myself in League One,” he said.
“I’m thankful they let me move on to Blackpool when they did, I can’t thank them enough.
“I have a lot of friends there, but I’ll be playing for Blackpool so want the three points.
“I got on with the fans really well, very similar to the rapport I have with the fans at Blackpool.
“It will be a great day to go back.”
The game will also see Taylor-Fletcher come up against his best friend in football, former Pool favourite Keith Southern.
The midfielder left Blackpool in the summer after 10 years at Bloomfield Road.
“Everyone knows Keith was a legend for Blackpool,” said Taylor-Fletcher.
“I’m so pleased he’s gone there, is playing and doing well.
“Everyone I speak to from Huddersfield who I still now are raving about him.
“So he’s doing well.”
Taylor-Fletcher has now played three games under new manager Michael Appleton.
And despite worries about huge changes since the departure of Ian Holloway, he thinks his departure was no surprise to Pool’s players.
“It was hard with all the speculation and all that went on,” he admitted.
“Everyone knew it was going to happen sooner or later.
“I was a bit surprised it was to Crystal Palace, I thought he’d have gone to a bigger club.
“But we just all carried on.
“All we can do is thank him for what he’s done.”
Despite missing most of Appleton’s early games in charge, Taylor-Fletcher revealed talks between the pair put any worries about his future at ease.
“He pulled me and told me he’s watched our previous games.
“He said he knows what I’m about and he’s seen what the team has been missing a bit when I’ve been out, so that’s been a big boost to me.
“It’s nice he’s acknowledged me, it’s given me a boost and I’m raring to go now.
“I just have to make sure I am fully prepared.
“I didn’t want to be called upon and not be ready.
“With the injury, the first few weeks of your comeback there’s a big risk of it happening again.
“So I’m taking every precaution that it doesn’t happen again.”