Blackpool winger is sure about one thing following season-long loan at Portsmouth

Blackpool winger Owen DaleBlackpool winger Owen Dale
Blackpool winger Owen Dale | CameraSport - Andrew Kearns
Owen Dale spent last season on loan at Portsmouth after being deemed surplus to requirements by Michael Appleton in the Championship

Owen Dale believes he has returned to Blackpool as a better player following a season on loan at Portsmouth.

The 24-year-old spent the whole of the 2022-23 campaign at Fratton Park after being deemed surplus to requirements by former Seasiders boss Michael Appleton.

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There, the former Crewe man racked up 50 appearances for the south coast club as he achieved his primary objective of more game time.

That was significantly more than the 15 outings he managed in his first season at Bloomfield Road, of which just seven were league starts.

And while Dale regrets not being able to boast greater numbers in front of goal for Pompey - he managed just two goals and five assists during his time at the Blues - he believes it was a move that will reap rewards for both him and the Seasiders.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s game against Derby, when the attacker hopes to make it three consecutive starts for Neil Critchley’s men after a slow start to his Blackpool return, Dale said he was delighted to be back with some vital experience.

He said: ‘It was a good loan period for me last season.

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‘I went there with the intention of getting game time and that is thankfully how it turned out.

‘There were areas of my game that were frustrating - the numbers being one. Goals and assists just didn’t fall for me as much as I would have wanted to, but it definitely helped me as a player.

‘It can be quite a mental challenge when things maybe aren’t falling for you, so I think learning from that experience and having made 50 appearances for them during the whole season has been a real benefit to my game.

‘I’m pleased to be back here now and playing for Blackpool again. I’ve had to be patient to get that opportunity, but every lad wants to play and when you’re playing you are at your happiest.’

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The right-winger’s past two games have seen him operate at wing-back for Blackpool - appearances that contributed to eye-catching wins against Reading and Barnsley.

And as he looks to reach the 10-match marker for the Seasiders against Derby, he said he was happy to help out wherever he was needed.

‘This is a new role for me,’ Dale added.

‘But it’s something I’m trying to pick up quickly and help the team as much as possible.’

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