Appleton may turn to loan market after injury blows

Blackpool's Matt Phillips
Blackpool's Matt Phillips
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BLACKPOOL could dip into the transfer market after being rocked by news that Matt Phillips may be out of action for eight weeks.

The winger may not play again until 2013 after tearing a muscle in his big toe.

New manager Michael Appleton said Phillips’ injury and Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s torn hamstring have taken the shine off his first week in charge.

Appleton said: “The injuries have been the most disappointing thing about my first week in the job.

“We had Fletch having to go off just before half-time on Saturday, though I think it’s only a grade one tear. I’m guessing he’ll be out for around four weeks.

“Matt has a slight tear to a joint in his big toe.

“It’s been a problem for him for a couple of weeks and it is a big, big disappointment for us.

“He’s got a lot of quality and is one of the players who is so important to us.

“When we are going through periods of games when we might be struggling, the likes of him and Tom Ince are so important.

“Matt and Fletch will be a massive miss for us, I don’t really need that in the first week of the job but these things happen.”

Although Phillips’ injury is yet to be diagnosed fully, Appleton believes it is similar to the tear which ruled Elliot Grandin out for almost two months last season.

The manager added: “Grandin had a similar injury but we are hoping Matt’s is not as bad.

“But if I work on the worst case scenario of eight weeks, then anything less than that is a bonus.”

Appleton has concentrated on working with a select group of players during his first full week in charge at Bloomfield Road.

Despite having 46 players on his books, he has been concentrating on 18-20 first-team players on a daily basis.

Appleton told The Gazette he wants to whittle down the numbers but he is also considering new signings.

He explained: “I may look to bring some players in. I know that sounds contradictory when I talk about how many players we have. But my point is you should only have players in a football club who can affect the first team.

“I’d like to bring in two or three if I can, so we have the balance right.

“Losing players like Fletch and Matty is big to a club like ours.

“It’s not just a blow to the squad but to my first team.

“We’ve lost two key players from our starting 11, so I’ll have to try to do something about it.”

The new manager has wasted no time in identifying means of getting the best out of his players.

He has compiled a list of ways to improve the set-up at Bloomfield Road, including some new arrivals.

And Appleton says he has already held discussions with chairman Karl Oyston.

“We’ve had a couple of chats about various things,” said Appleton.

“We only have two loan players at the minute, so we have a couple of places to work with there. We have to use loans wisely.

“We have to make sure the players we do bring in give us the right balance.

“Our squad is ridiculously big, but I’ll only be working with 18-20 players every day.”