Latvian international has Blackpool trial

Neal Bishop is set to play once again
Neal Bishop is set to play once again
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Blackpool have handed a trial to Latvian international Vitalijs Smirnovs.

The 27-year-old central defender will train with the Seasiders this week after being recommended to the club by former director Normunds Malnacs.

Smirnovs has played 27 times this season for FK Ventspils, including seven appearances in the Europa League.

The 6ft 3in defender will play for Pool in a behind closed-doors game today against Crewe.

Barry Ferguson is again expected to field a side made-up of fringe and youth team players for the game which will be played at Pool’s training ground.

Michael Chopra, Nathan Tyson and Nathan Eccleston are again expected to play as they look to gain fitness, as will trial player Freddy Adu.

On the practice games, Ferguson said: “I want these to be a regular thing.

“There are a few of the boys who haven’t had much match time, so I like to organise Tuesday games to get people up to match fitness.

“I want those games to be competitive, I expect people to go out and work hard.

“The games are for their benefit.”

Neal Bishop is again expected to play as he steps-up his fitness race.

The 32-year-old hasn’t yet played under Ferguson, but the boss thinks he’s now not far away.

He said: “Neal came through a practise match this week.

“He has only been training a few days though, so it will take another week to get him fully fit.

“We’ll see how he does in today’s game.”