O’Keefe convinced Pool will beat drop

Blackpool's Stuart O'Keefe
Blackpool's Stuart O'Keefe
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Stuart O’Keefe has already seen enough to convince him Blackpool can avoid the drop this season.

The Crystal Palace midfielder has started Pool’s last two games, having stepped down from the Premier League for a one-month loan at Bloomfield Road.

And having helped his new team pick up four points from two games, O’Keefe has no doubt there’s enough quality at the club to bridge the eight-point gap which separates Pool from Championship safety.

He said: “I don’t see any reason why we can’t stay up. All you need is a bit of momentum. Look at Birmingham, who had picked up some wins and fired up the table.

“If we can pick up a couple more wins, starting at Charlton on Saturday, then all of a sudden we will be up there with the others. They’ll start to look over their shoulder and worry.”

Suffolk-born O’Keefe is enjoying his new surroundings. He added: “I can’t ask for any more from my time here.

“I’ve been here for a couple of weeks now and the group of lads we have is great.

“We are all working really hard in training and the manager is getting a good group of players together now.

“On Saturday we all worked so hard for him and for the club, and we were all delighted with the result.”

O’Keefe is one of eight players Clark has brought to the club, seven of them featuring in the win over Birmingham on Saturday.

The turnaround in personnel has seen an improvement in results, with Pool losing only one of their last five games.

The 23-year-old added: “It’s hard to gel when so many new players come into a club at once. It is difficult.

“But we have so much experience in our squad and people who have been in these sort of circumstances.

“The players aren’t getting down. We are getting on with it and results are starting to show that now.”

O’Keefe has been ineligible to play for his parent club so far this season, after injury saw him left out of Palace’s 25-man Premier League squad.

They will have an opportunity to register the midfielder from New Year’s Day, though he had been restricted to reserve-team football until Blackpool offered him a loan deal.

O’Keefe explained: “It’s just a month here at the moment. Neil Warnock (Palace manager) wants me back there on January 1.

“I haven’t had any promises from Palace, but the manage wanted me to come out and play before I can be included in their squad in January.”