Marc Bola might have been the big winner at Blackpool’s end-of-season awards’ night but the defender insists there’s still more to come.
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The 21-year-old capped an impressive debut campaign for the Seasiders by claiming the Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards.
The left-back, who signed last summer following his release from Arsenal, has made 43 appearances this season, scoring twice.
“I’m surprised,” Bola said. “Anyone could have won it, which shows how good we’ve been this season.
“I’m glad to have picked up these two awards. It’s been a long season. It’s my first proper full season and I’ve worked so hard for this moment.
“I’m still trying to get better but it’s been a good season for me personally. There’s still room for improvement, though.
“I’ve got to work on that right foot for instance. I’ve hit a few into the stand! There are always things you can improve.”
Bola’s arrival at Bloomfield Road was unexpected after he caught the eye of Gary Bowyer in a pre-season friendly. Bowyer moved swiftly to sign a player who spent the previous season on loan at Bristol Rovers.
“It was a shock signing here,” he said. “It’s weird because when I was at Bristol Rovers I played against Blackpool at right-back and I did well. The second game against them I played at left-back and at the end of the season I went on trial at Wigan.
“I played Blackpool in a friendly and I managed to do well. End of May, Gary Bowyer told me to come along. It was a shock to me to come to Blackpool. I had nowhere to go.
“I just thought, ‘I need to improve and get somewhere’, and I just worked hard to get to this place. Gary went, Terry (McPhillips) came in and he had faith in me. He played me in most games and I’m proud of that.”
Jay Spearing won The Gazette’s Player of the Year award, as voted by our readers, while Ben Heneghan claimed the BSA and Radio Wave prizes.
When asked for his player of the season, Bola said: “I’d say Mark Howard. He’s been excellent.
“If he didn’t get injured, I think he probably would have won it. He’s been great throughout the whole season and has made some incredible saves. He kept us in a number of games.”