Blackpool FC midfielder McAlister is delighted to be back

Blackpool's Jim McAlister was back in action in midweek
Blackpool's Jim McAlister was back in action in midweek

It has been a gruelling, sometimes frustrating, last year for Jim McAlister but the Blackpool midfielder spoke of his delight after making his long-awaited return from injury.

It has been a gruelling, sometimes frustrating, last year for Jim McAlister but the Blackpool midfielder spoke of his delight after making his long-awaited return from injury.

The 32-year-old came off the bench to play his first minutes in 11 months during Blackpool’s Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Shrewsbury Town on Wednesday night.

It has been a long road back for McAlister, who fractured his tibia in the 1-1 draw against Colchester United in February of last year.

There have been some setbacks along the way, but McAlister believes all the hard work was worth it to find himself back in the thick of the action.

“It felt brilliant to be back out there,” he said.

“It’s been hard at times with some setbacks inbetween but to finally get back on the pitch after a few months of training was good.

“Obviously when I first came back into training the boys were a bit easy on me but once they saw me tackling, I was basically asking them to go in hard on me. That set me up for a game situation.

“A big tackle coming in after a minute or two of coming on the pitch definitely helped my confidence.

“It’s just reactive. I’m not probably renowned for jumping out of tackles, it’s just me.

“There were a few tackles after that as well so I enjoyed the run out.

“The sharpness comes with training but it’s different to when you go out on the pitch.

“The first five to 10 minutes were a bit frantic when I first went on but the longer the game went on, I began to feel stronger.

“A few of the boys were struggling a little bit at the end so I had to rein myself in in terms of getting forward.”

The Seasiders put in a good display at Shrewsbury, drawing 0-0 during normal time only to be knocked out 4-2 on penalties with Danny Philliskirk and Rowan Roache the men to miss from 12 yards.

“We were unlucky not to nick it at the end when a chance fell for Nick (Anderton),” McAlister said.

“The gaffer told me a few weeks back this Checkatrade Trophy game would be the first port of call for me in terms of getting minutes in, so I was glad to get on the pitch.

“But it is disappointing to go out. You’ve got the carrot of Wembley at the end of it and when you see the teams that are left in it we would have fancied our chances.

“Both teams had chances, we probably had the best chance at the end but when it goes to penalties it’s always a lottery.”