Ranger is a risk worth taking, says Riga

Blackpool manager Jos� Riga applauds the fans as he takes his place on the bench for the first time at Bloomfield Road
Blackpool manager Jos� Riga applauds the fans as he takes his place on the bench for the first time at Bloomfield Road
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The signing of striker Nile Ranger is a risk worth taking, says Blackpool boss Jose Riga.

The controversial 23-year-old signed a one-year deal on Saturday morning but wasn’t involved in that afternoon’s 2-1 home defeat by Blackburn.

Despite being a highly-rated youngster at Newcastle United, Ranger had his contract terminated at St James’ Park and also at Swindon Town last season following off-field issues.

He had a trial at Leeds this summer before turning up at Bloomfield Road last week.

Pool boss Riga said: “Everything’s a risk in football and we have to take some in our situation.

“I always believe people can change and he’s a young guy. We know all about his qualities. I will be looking to do everything we can to help him, but first of all it’s up to him.

“I told him it’s about his publicity on the pitch from now on, not off it.”

It was third time lucky for the Seasiders, who have tried to sign Ranger on two previous occasions and made £1.25m bid in 2011, when Ian Holloway was manager.

He scored eight goals for League One Swindon last season before police incidents resulted in his contract termination. Riga says the Londoner will be given help at Blackpool, though his future is totally in his own hands.

He explained: “If all the players with quality as kids made it, then we would have six Championships and six times as many clubs. More than ever, your mindset and how you behave off the field makes all the difference.

“Nile is still young. At the age of 23 it isn’t easy to keep your feet on the ground.

“But it’s all about him now. He knows the deal with me, so it’s down to him now.”

“I want to think about how we can do things in the present to get a better future for Nile. At his age he deserves another chance.”

Ranger trained with his new team-mates yesterday and is expected to be in the squad for tomorrow night’s home game against Brentford.