Blackpool new boy Grant Ward may have to wait for Reading FA Cup clash to make his debut

Grant Ward may feature for Blackpool in their FA Cup tie with Reading this weekend
Grant Ward may feature for Blackpool in their FA Cup tie with Reading this weekend
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New signing Grant Ward is unlikely to feature for Blackpool at Rotherham United today despite being available for selection.

Instead, the winger, who arrived on a free transfer on Saturday, could make his debut in the FA Cup third round clash against Reading at the weekend.

Pool beat off competition from the Millers, among others, to seal Ward’s signature – the former Ipswich Town man penning an initial 18-month deal with the Seasiders with the option to extend by a further year.

However, Ward continues to recover from a lengthy lay-off that has seen him sidelined since Boxing Day 2018 when he suffered a knee ligament injury.

Ward continued his rehabilitation at Portman Road despite being released during the summer and Grayson is confident his injury woes are behind him.

“He’s been training for the last two months, so he’s played two or three reserve games down at Ipswich,” he told The Gazette.

“He’ll have a week’s training with us but probably the earliest we will see Grant is the Reading game in the FA Cup.

“If not, then we still have 10 days or two weeks until we go to Lincoln.”

The boss of today’s opponents Rotherham, Paul Warne, made no secret of his desire to bring Ward back to South Yorkshire after the winger spent a loan spell at the New York Stadium.

The Millers were reportedly willing to make Ward one of their highest earners but he instead opted to join the Seasiders.

“I was offering him a longer contract, you’ll have to ask him why he turned it down,” Warne said ahead of today’s game.

“I’m really pleased for him. We offered him a really good deal, he took a different deal and I can understand why.

“I’m not an idiot, I understand how the world works. There are no hard feelings from me at all.”

Ward bolsters the Seasiders in an area of the pitch where they have been badly lacking in recent weeks, having scored just once in their last three games.

Grayson has made no secret of his desire to strengthen his attacking options.

The Pool boss is confident Ward won’t be the last signing the club makes this winter with the January transfer window opening today.

“We’ve got a shopping list and we’ve had a lot of discussions with the owner (Simon Sadler),” Grayson said.

“I’m delighted to have done Grant Ward already which we think is going to be a good addition to us.

“He’s a player who has a lot of Championship experience and has good quality as an attacking player that can also score and create goals.

“I’m pretty sure he won’t be the only one who will come through the door.”