Armand Gnanduillet will fight for the right to start at Blackpool

Armand Gnanduillet is thriving on the competition for places at Blackpool
Armand Gnanduillet is thriving on the competition for places at Blackpool
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Armand Gnanduillet says added competition at Blackpool is driving him on to play even better.

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The striker has enjoyed a strong start to the campaign, topping the club’s scoring charts after 12 games.

It comes after Simon Grayson strengthened his forward options during the summer by bringing in Ryan Hardie and Joe Nuttall.

But, rather than complain, Gnanduillet says the competition for places has spurred him on to perform even better.

“I want players to be at their best because it pushes me,” Gnanduillet said. “I love the challenge of competition and it doesn’t scare me.

“We have some good forward players at the club – Joe, Ryan, Delf (Nathan Delfouneso), Sullay (Kaikai) – so you know you have to score. I love the competition and that only helps the team.

“I have been asked to play like I do now since I came to England, and I never understood why. Now I understand what I have to do.

“I get the ball, take touches, play the ball wide and get in the box to try and score goals.

“I feel stronger and stronger now and even score goals with my head. That wasn’t one of my strengths back in the day.

“Now I have already scored four this season with my head, but I need to score more with my feet as well.

“English football is very physical and I’ve got the physique and the ability to play here. I believe in myself and I continue to learn day after day.

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“This is now my fourth season with Blackpool and I played week in, week out last season. People they know the way I like to play now.”

Many of Gnanduillet’s goals have been headed efforts, often assisted by Liam Feeney; a player the Frenchman singled out for special praise.

“I think Liam is the present star player for us this season,” he said.

“I know that I have scored goals, but I wouldn’t score if it wasn’t for the assists. The balls at Gillingham and against Portsmouth were ridiculous.

“We work hard on things in training and I now know, from his body language, where the ball is going to go.”

Gnanduillet has struck up a special bond with the Blackpool supporters, especially since the recent end to the fans’ boycott.

“Since all the fans came back, they have just been outstanding,” the 27-year-old said.

“They had some bad times, like everyone knows, but since the Southend game last season it has been a pleasure to play in front of them.

“I feel blessed to have scored in that game and the first game of this season.

“It is always a pleasure and we try to achieve things for the fans, for the club, for ourselves and our families. I love when they sing my name.”