Blackpool chief executive Ben Mansford won't rule out return of Ellis Simms from Everton for second loan spell
The door isn’t completely shut on a possible return to Blackpool for last season’s loan star Ellis Simms.
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The Seasiders were confident of sealing another loan deal for the Everton striker ahead of their Championship campaign.
But Simms, whose 10 goals in 24 appearances during the second half of last season helped fire Neil Critchley’s men to promotion, needed surgery for a groin injury suffered on the eve of Pool’s play-off final.
Simms has returned to training in recent weeks and has been named in some of Everton’s match-day squads, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison both sidelined by injury.
However, the forward was missing from the squad for last weekend’s draw at Manchester United, leading to speculation he has picked up another knock.
However, should Simms become available again in January, Blackpool chief executive Ben Mansford hopes the club would be in pole position to sign the striker, who will be out of contract at the end of the season.
Mansford told The Gazette: “I’m sure talks are going on between Ellis and his advisors. Ellis really enjoyed his time here and we enjoyed having him, so I would hope we will continue to keep relations with both Everton and Ellis’ agent.
“Let’s wait and see if it’s right for all parties, as it was when he first joined us. If it’s right in the future, then I’d like to think Ellis feels fondly about his time here.
“There’s obviously a situation with his contract that might need to play out at Everton first, but I’d hope we would be capable of securing him back if it was right for all parties.”
Blackpool missed out on another popular loanee’s return during the summer, when Arsenal’s Dan Ballard opted to join Millwall instead.
Mansford added: “I was gutted, I think we all were. I’m biased but I think Dan should have come back and continued his development at Blackpool, but decisions were made that meant he didn’t.
“He’s a real credit to himself and his young family, and I wish him all the success in the world, apart from when he plays us.
“On Ellis, I think we would have been a long way to securing his return but for that injury he had. Now he’s obviously back fit and it appears he’s having some effect on the first-team scene.
“He’s been on the bench, he’s been in squads and I saw some comments from Rafa Benitez, who said he had been impressed with him as well.
“Huge credit goes to him for how he acclimatised to his first loan, the impact he had and the goals he scored.
“Credit to Critch and the recruitment team for identifying a bright youngster that helped us get over the line last season.
“We had a right good go to get Dan back and credit to the support Simon Sadler gave us.
“I think we had a right chance to get Ellis back as well had he been allowed out on loan.
“We’ve got Jordan (Gabriel) back and then there’s Embo (Sunderland’s Elliot Embleton).
“I had a bit of dinner with Lee Johnson (Black Cats boss) when they played Fleetwood the other day. He said, ‘Thank you’ and picked up the tab, so there’s not much we can do with Embo now.”