ASHLEY Eastham could be the answer to Pool’s centre half shortage, according to Ian Holloway.
The 21-year-old is currently catching the eye on loan at Notts County, a deal due to expire this weekend.
Although the Seasiders have cover at the back, injury to Craig Cathcart has left Holloway with few options at the heart of their defence.
But the Pool boss thinks Eastham could be ready to finally make the step-up into his first team squad.
“Hopefully Ash might save me going out and having to buy another one,” said Holloway.
“If you read what Keith Curle (Notts County manager) said about Eastham last week, then there’s another player who’s coming through.
“I might be able to call him back soon.
“I might not have changed the back four, but the choices now are getting a little bit stronger. I don’t think he’d be far off coming back and getting into our team.
“Well done to him.”
Eastham made his debut for the Seasiders in a 4–3 defeat to Premier League side Stoke City back in 2009.
But despite only making three appearances for Blackpool, he’s already a hugely experienced player.
He’s enjoyed loan spells at seven clubs over the past four years, his most successful seeing him make play 30 times in League One for Bury last season.
“The first year I came here he went out and did well at Cheltenham,” said Holloway.
“He’s developed into a wonderful young man.
“He’s six foot one, shoulders like a cabinet turned sideways and is an old fashioned number five.
“Anyone who went to see us against Stoke City years ago saw Beattie got taken off as Ash beat him in the air over and over again.
“In the end they put on Ricardo Fuller and he wasn’t quite ready for that.
“I’m delighted with him.”
The 21-year-old spent a month at Fleetwood Town earlier this season, only to decide against extending the deal in favour of a move to Notts County.
And Holloway says the reports back have been good.
He said: “Ash didn’t want to stay at Fleetwood and not play after he did really well at Bury last season.
“Curley (Keith Curle) is a great mate of mine, and a great centre half and I said they could take him if he played. His comments about him last week were great.
“He has great composure, he’s very neat and tidy on the ball, has a great diagonal he can hit and he goes and heads it for fun.”
Eastham, who came through the youth ranks at Bloomfield Road, is enjoying his football again, and said recently he’d stay at Notts County if given the opportunity.
But should Blackpool need him, it may be a different matter.
The defender said: “It was great to get my chance to play and I want to kick on now.
“I really wanted to go out and impress the gaffer.”
Eastham’s loan officially ends at the weekend after County’s game against Colchester United.
“It’s a brilliant club so if the gaffer wants to me to stay for longer I will be more than happy to,” he added.
“I want to be playing at a big club like Notts.”
- POOL’s development squad returned to winning ways yesterday as they beat a London Academy side 4-2. Adda Djeziri, Brice Ire-bi, Jamie Mennagh and Banvo Anderson scored for the Seasiders.