Pool land double deal, but neither play tonight

Andre Blackman at Bloomfield Road
Andre Blackman at Bloomfield Road
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Jose Riga has finally managed to add two new faces to his Blackpool squad, but not in time for tonight’s trip to Middlesbrough.

Former Celtic winger Andre Blackman and Senegal-born midfielder Formose Mendy penned one-year deals yesterday, though both missed the noon registration cut-off and so can’t feature in the 7.45pm kick-off at the Riverside.

Blackman has been training with the Seasiders for the past two weeks after failing to land a contract at Leeds.

The 23-year-old Londoner, who spent the first half of last season with Plymouth, is delighted to have his chance in the Championship.

“I’m really pleased to sign for Blackpool. It’s a big club and a very good platform for me,” he said.

“My agent spoke to the manager and he wanted me to train for a couple of weeks. We’ve taken it from there.

“Everyone here wants to play. There’s a really competitive atmosphere and it’s really good. It keeps everyone on their toes.”

Blackman came through the ranks at Arsenal and Tottenham before making his senior breakthrough with AFC Wimbledon in 2011.

He soon joined Celtic but managed only three appearances before agreeing a six-month deal with Plymouth in League Two.

He added: “I’ve been lucky to have had a good schooling in football from when I was young, so I’d like to bring that here.

“I have to work hard now and show the manager I’m ready to play a part at Blackpool.

“But there’s plenty for me to learn, and I think the right type of players are here for me to learn from.”

Riga has had plenty of time to evaluate Blackman over the past fortnight and the player has found out a lot about the club.

He added: “The players here have treated me well and welcomed me with their arms open.

“As soon as I came in I knew a few of the boys, but even the ones I didn’t know have been great.

“There are a few players who can play left wing here and very good players.

“I need to come here, get my head down and work hard.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to make my debut against Cardiff on Friday.”

He will be joined by striker Mendy, who caught Riga’s eye playing for Sporting Gijon in Spain.

The 25-year-old made four appearances in La Liga before Gijon’s relegation in 2012. He has gone on to make 30 starts for the club who still play in the Spanish second tier.