Nile Ranger has described his move to Blackpool as his “last chance” in football.
The controversial striker could make his Bloomfield Road debut from the bench in tonight’s Championship clash with Brentford (kick-off 7.45pm).
Ranger, 23, has made headlines for all the wrong reasons during his short career, with both Newcastle United and Swindon Town terminating his contract following a host of off-field incidents.
And he told The Gazette he realises just how vital this season is for himself and his future.
Ranger said: “This isn’t a good chance for me – it’s my last chance, so I have to grab it with both hands.
“This is my actual last chance – I’ve had more lives than a cat.
“I was young and I made mistakes but you learn.
“Now it’s time to grow up. I need to knuckle down and get my head screwed on.
“All the off-field behaviour has finished now, it’s over.
“I need to focus now, get my head down and graft.
“I realised when I was at Newcastle that so many teams were coming in for me, and at a young age I thought I had it all.
“But it’s not like that in football. Your career isn’t that long – 10 years tops.
“I’ve got to go hard or go home. I’ve got to show all the doubters that I can do it.”
Ranger has been a long-term target of the Seasiders, with both Ian Holloway and Paul Ince attempting to sign the Londoner during their time in charge.
He trained with Leeds over the summer before taking a call from Pool boss Jose Riga.
Ranger explained: “The manager just told me to come here. It’s not about the money – it’s about giving me a chance, showing people what you can do and being positive.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been at this level, but I know I can play in the Championship because I was here with Newcastle.
“I’m 23 now, so I’ve got quite a lot of experience and I know I can handle it.
“I was supposed to come here last year, when things didn’t work out, and there was another time before that but I’ve eventually got here. Now I can show what I’m about.”
News of Ranger’s arrival met with a mixed response from Pool fans, with many pointing to his previous problems as a major risk.
But the player himself hopes he can win them over and has pleaded for a chance.
He added: “If I score goals they will soon be chanting my name.
“I don’t want my own fans against me. It’s always nice to have the fans backing you, but if they don’t it’s not going to stop me – I’ll go out there, do what I have to do and work hard for Blackpool.”