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Blackpool's McAlister hoping for the call at Shrewsbury

Jim McAlister
Jim McAlister

Jim McAlister has high hopes of a long-awaited first-team return in tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy third round tie at Shrewsbury Town (7pm).

READ MORE: Blackpool midfielder McAlister sets right example
The Blackpool midfielder has been out of action since fracturing a tibia in the home draw with Colchester United last February.

McAlister has been in training for several weeks and was named in the match day squad for their previous Checkatrade tie against Mansfield last month.

He wasn’t brought off the bench that night but the 32-year-old is hopeful of featuring at New Meadow.

McAlister admits his team-mates have been careful when going in for challenges during training but the former Dundee man says it is a hurdle he needs to overcome.

“Everybody mentions that first tackle but the boys were good with me,” he said.

“In that first week or so I was back in, you could see them standing back a bit to allow me to find my feet.

“Once they’ve started to see me going in and tackling them, they’ve kind of stepped it up on me, which is exactly what I need.

“I don’t want the boys to pull out of tackles because it is a hurdle I need to get over.

“I feel as if I’m over most of the hurdles now and I’m just getting ready for the games.”

Warm applause greeted the announcement of McAlister among the substitutes against the Stags five weeks ago and he says that evening on the bench was valuable in terms of restoring his match preparation mindset.

“It was brilliant from the gaffer, to be fair,” McAlister added.

“You think you’re getting close, then setbacks happen.

“Just for my head more than anything, the gaffer wanted me to get out in the warm-up and on the bench.

“It was great man management from him.

“The boys then got us through to the next round, which will give me the chance to get some game time, hopefully.

“We said a while back that we’ll look to the Checkatrade to try to get some minutes.”

Should the Seasiders win through tonight’s tie, they will be in the quarter-finals and only two steps from Wembley.

Shrewsbury are likely to field a weakened side, having played in the FA Cup on Sunday against West Ham.

They drew that game 0-0 and will travel to the London Stadium for the replay next Tuesday.

Paul Hurst’s side also remain second in League One and will be focussing on completing on Saturday’s visit to Blackburn Rovers

Blackpool goalkeeper Myles Boney has joined non-league side Nantwich Town on loan for a month.

The 19-year-old, who has made four appearances for Blackpool’s first team, has joined the Northern Premier Division side in a bid for more regular game time.

He is available for selection for tonight’s Cheshire Senior Cup tie at Sandbach United.