Blackpool owner eventually wants to see homegrown players representing the Seasiders

A new training ground is central to Simon Sadler’s vision of Blackpool FC as a centre of excellence for producing young players.

By Matt Scrafton
Friday, 7th January 2022, 12:30 pm

The Seasiders’ owner admits legal issues have delayed the process but insists the announcements will be worth waiting for.

Sadler told The Gazette: “It’s very exciting because we all want to see young players come through.

“One of the reasons we want to build a new training ground is to ensure we have an integrated centre with the academy right through to the first-team.

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Blackpool owner Simon Sadler

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“With a facility like that, we will become the destination club for the whole of the Fylde coast.

“There are few things more exciting in football than seeing homegrown kids coming through to the first-team and I very much want that to be part of the Blackpool story.

“I hope over the coming years we will see more and more kids come through, particularly local kids.”

It’s that time of year when the focus on recruitment is at its most intense, with a one-month window to reinforce first-team squads for the second half of the campaign.

Sadler believes it’s an area where Blackpool have made significant progress.

He added: “At the moment we’re recruiting well and developing well. I’ve mentioned it many times, the three pillars – it’s the academy, it’s recruitment and it’s coaching.

“I don’t really like singling out players because if you single out a player you can omit some and I don’t really want to omit anyone.

“If you look at some of our recent recruitment and development – Josh Bowler is improving, Shayne Lavery is improving, Jordan Gabriel is improving.

“From last year’s recruitment, Keshi (Anderson), Jerry (Yates), Marvin (Ekpiteta): these are players who are developing well at the club.

“When I’m asked about what excites me for 2022, it’s that more than anything – it’s really just seeing that development of players.”

Sadler also discussed the process of recruiting a new assistant head coach to replace Stuart McCall, who left for Sheffield United in late November.

Of Yorkshireman McCall, Sadler said: “It was completely understandable given where he lives and past affinities, so there are no hard feelings.

“We definitely need to replace him and finding a replacement is top of the list for things to do early in the year.

“It’s different now to what it was 15 months or so ago, when we brought in Colin Calderwood, because Neil Critchley has got a lot more experience under his belt.

“We’ve got Critch and Mike (Garrity) and the rest of the team, but clearly we need to bring someone else in but we need to make sure we get the right person and it’s the right fit.”

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