Blackpool’s Chris Long accepts he is not guaranteed a starting role in Terry McPhillips’ team despite bagging a matchwinning goal on his debut.
READ MORE: Steve Davies signs for Scottish club after Blackpool exit
The 23-year-old made a perfect start to life at Blackpool, coming off the bench to score the decisive goal in Saturday’s 1-0 win at League One leaders Portsmouth.
While the goal will have undoubtedly boosted Long’s chances of starting against Shrewsbury Town this weekend, the former Fleetwood Town man knows there’s no assurances.
He said: “I did say I would have to work my way into the team, and if I am in the team I will always give that 120 per cent and more.
“I came here to play and score goals, and hopefully that can carry on.
“I’ve just got to catch the manager’s eye in training this week. The lads who started won the game.
“I obviously chipped in and scored the winner, but I’ve just got to keep working hard to get myself in that team and get that starting spot.”
Long’s appearance at Fratton Park was his first game-time since November, when he was subbed off at half-time in Fleetwood’s Checkatrade Trophy defeat at Bury.
It’s been a difficult few months for the strike but the former Burnley man says he is looking to put all that behind him and focus on his new club.
“I met with the lads last Thursday,” Long added. “I knew some of them already but everyone has welcomed me with open arms.
“I’m just delighted I could score the winner for the lads. I’m loving it at the moment.
“It’s probably been the worst year of my footballing career so far.
“I got released by Burnley and then what’s gone on at Fleetwood, but that’s all gone now and I’m at Blackpool.
“It’s a lovely club and I’m enjoying it with the lads and staff. I’m just ready to play football and score goals. That’s the main focus.”
Blackpool’s surprise win at Pompey put an end to the Seasiders’ poor spell of form.
The win left McPhillips’ men ninth in the League One table, nine points off the play-offs, but Long insists the players aren’t looking beyond the next fixture.
He added: “We just take every game as it comes. Hopefully we can get three points in every game. That’s the plan.
“We don’t look too far. Now it’s all about Shrewsbury on Saturday. That’s our next focus and hopefully we can get three points.
“Obviously before I arrived the lads got beat by Arsenal but it was always going to be difficult against Premier League opposition.
“But we got the result at Portsmouth against another big club, so we’re all glad.”