Blackpool assistant Tony Grant compares Matty Virtue to a young Roy Keane

Matty Virtue has scored three times in his first 13 games for Blackpool
Matty Virtue has scored three times in his first 13 games for Blackpool
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Blackpool assistant Tony Grant says Matty Virtue reminds him of a young Roy Keane.

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Virtue has already scored three goals for the Seasiders in his first 13 games since signing for the club during the January transfer window.

The box-to-box midfielder, signed on a permanent deal from Liverpool's Under-23 side, has caught the eye with his energetic displays.

While Grant accepts Virtue is unlikely to enjoy the same success as Keane did, he believes the 21-year-old can definitely play higher than League One.

“He’s the modern box-to-box midfielder and there’s not many of those players about," Grant said.

“He can get into the opposition box and recover in your box in quick time. He’s got big, strong legs and he’s got the potential to play much higher.

“The goal against Bradford was brilliant. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him but I liken him to a young Roy Keane, who travelled with the ball and was a bit free.

“Roy obviously went on to play at a really high standard and can Matty get to that level? Maybe not, but he can definitely play higher.”

Virtue is a doubt for this weekend's trip to Barnsley after suffering a gash on his leg after being on the wrong end of a nasty challenge from Fleetwood Town's Nathan Sheron.

Sheron was shown a straight red card for the tackle and Virtue was subsequently taken off.

“There’s a question mark over Matty, who got a heavy knock when the Fleetwood player was sent off," Grant added.

“He’s got a big gash. I’m not sure on the extent of it.

“I haven’t seen it back but obviously I saw it at the time and I saw the reaction from the players.

“He obviously went over the ball but in a derby these things happen. Luckily enough Matty got out with it with some stitches but he’s walking and he could possibly be fit for Saturday.

“Donervon (Daniels) might train and he should be okay for Saturday, but apart from that everyone else is fit.”