Keith Southern: Bowyer has stopped the rot

Former Pool player Keith Southern
Former Pool player Keith Southern
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Blackpool favourite Keith Southern has praised the job done by Gary Bowyer in turning what was a “losing club” into one that is just 90 minutes from promotion.

Bowyer, in his first season at Blackpool, has guided the Seasiders to the League Two play-off final after finishing seventh in the league.

That is quite the achievement considering Pool’s recent woes which saw them suffer successive relegations from the Championship to the fourth tier.

Southern, a player who wrote himself into Blackpool folklore by being involved in two play-off winning sides during his 10-year spell at the club, believes Bowyer deserves a lot of credit.

“I think he’s done extremely well,” he said. “With the squad he’s got I did expect Blackpool to challenge, whether that be automatic or through the play-offs.

“But it’s never easy coming into a club when it was a losing football club and had been for two or three seasons.

“He came in and he had to turn the tide and he’s managed that. He’s recruited really well and brought in league-specific players. A lot of them have been promoted from this league and know how to win in this league which is vital.

“He’s had a lot of things to contend with on and off the pitch but, full credit to him, he’s done a really good job.

“I hope as a former player and a fan that he gets the job done and gets a promotion on his CV because I think he deserves it.”

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However, in normal circumstances, Southern believes this current crop of players could have been in contention for a top-three spot.

He added: “I think it’s a good achievement to get to the play-off final – it always is regardless of whether you’ve got the biggest budget or the smallest.

“But I think Blackpool, with the squad at their disposal and the budget available to the manager, should have been challenging the top three if I’m being honest.

“They sneaked into the play-offs and their form was hit and miss until around March time then they put a run together.

“There were a few dips along the way but I think they deserve their place.

“But they’ve done nothing I didn’t expect them to at the start of the season.”