Blackpool boss praises loanee Longstaff

Blackpool midfielder Sean Longstaff
Blackpool midfielder Sean Longstaff

Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer has lavished Sean Longstaff with praise after the midfielder refound his clinical touch in front of goal.

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The 20-year-old, who is the club’s top scorer with seven goals this season, scored for the first time in six matches when he put Blackpool ahead at Bury last week.

The goal, which was eventually cancelled out by George Miller’s late equaliser, was a superb volley from 25 yards out.

It was a welcome return to form for the on-loan Newcastle United midfielder, who enjoyed a hot streak in form at the start of the season when he found the back of the net four games in a row.

Most of those goals have come from outside the box, something that was highlighted by his manager in the lead-up to today’s game.

“I think just one of his goals has come from inside the box. It’s a great talent to have,” Bowyer said of Longstaff.

“I’ve been really impressed with him since the minute he arrived.

“He played away at Radcliffe Borough in a pre-season friendly and he showed great bravery to get on the ball and play.

“That stood out and since then he’s added goals to his game, which is a wonderful talent to have.

“Then you just look at his all-round game and how he’s developed, he keeps wanting to get better.

“He’s now even stepped up to taking free-kicks.

His effort wasn’t too bad last week and it wasn’t too far away.

“That shows you the measure of the guy from someone who is so young who wants to get better and better. I’ve said all along what I think of him as a player.

“The longer I spend in his company and the more I watch him play, I know he can only improve and get better.

“He’s working hard on the other areas he needs to improve on, like his defending. But he’s wanting to do it and he’s willing to do it.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the boy.”

Pool could only labour to a 1-1 draw at Bury in their last outing.

Despite that disappointing result, Bowyer insists there were positives to take ahead of today’s game with Walsall.

“We’ve got to take the positives out of that as well as the frustration of not winning into this weekend,” the Pool boss said.

“The fact that Bury go and beat AFC Wimbledon after playing us shows you that, realistically, they probably shouldn’t be where they are because of the squad they’ve got.

“To go there and be as good as what we were for large periods, we’ve got to take those positives.”