More signings but youth stars turned away

Mark Waddington
Mark Waddington
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A hectic day at Bloomfield Road brought more signings but yet more problems for Blackpool FC.

The Seasiders signed French striker Saer Sene and Sunderland pair Connor Oliver and David Ferguson, while completing extensions to Jamie O’Hara and Darren O’Dea’s deals.

And Ipswich Town last night confirmed their 20-year-old winger Alex Henshall had joined Pool on a one-month loan.

However, the stand-off between the club and top young prospects Mark Waddington and Dom Telford took an incredible turn.

It is believed the pair didn’t train yesterday after being told they were expected to commit their future to the club before they could be involved with the senior squad again.

Waddington and Telford were travelling to training when they were instructed to join up with the youth squad instead.

18-year-old Waddington, who was The Gazette’s man of the match at Aston Villa last Sunday, and fellow outstanding teenager Telford have both seen contract talks with Pool break down since the club refused to upgrade its basic wage offer to players graduating from the youth ranks.

They have both been dropped from today’s first team squad and were instead due to play for the club’s youth team this morning against Oldham Athletic.

Although this increases the likelihood of the pair leaving the club in the summer, manager Lee Clark was pleased to finally land a few of his targets.

The 28-year-old Sene has signed for Pool until the end of the season, having played in America’s MLS since 2012.

He ended a short stint with New York Red Bulls last month, having previously scored 17 goals in 59 games for New England Revolution.

Sene was a youth player at Paris St-Germain before moving on to Germany, where he played for Bayern Munich’s reserves.

Oliver and Ferguson are no strangers to the Seasiders, having undergone trials this season.

Both caught the eye in a behind-closed-doors game against Manchester United almost two months ago and have been handed 18-month contracts, with the option of a further year.

Neither left-back Ferguson nor midfielder Oliver broke into the first-team at Sunderland, though Oliver did play League football on loan at Hartlepool last season.

He came through the youth ranks at the Stadium of Light, whereas Ferguson joined the Black Cats in 2012 from Darlington.

Ferguson said: “It’s a move I really wanted to happen, so hopefully I can hit the ground running. I came here for a week in November and everyone was welcoming.”

Midfielder Oliver is highly-rated and described as comfortable on the ball. He said: “I’ve been at Sunderland six years and it was a good experience, but I wanted to come out and get some first-team games. It’s a good opportunity for me, so I’ve got to take it with both hands.”

Former England youth international Henshall, meanwhile, joined Ipswich from Manchester City in the summer and made five early-season appearances but has not featured in almost four months.

Manager Clark has dismissed speculation linking Ishmael Miller with a move to Wigan. National media reports claimed Latics boss Malky Mackay was set to swoop for the Blackpool striker but Clark insisted: “I’m good friends with Malky and we spoke earlier in the week, but there’s no truth in these rumours at all.”

Despite the signings, Clark knows it’s been another poor week for the club. He admitted: “It’s frustrating with all the off-the-field issues at the moment.

“I want the fans to enjoy being part of it, and although they’ve been fantastic so far, that just isn’t happening at the moment, for a number of reasons.”