Blackpool spoilt for choice in defence

Peter Hartley
Peter Hartley
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Blackpool may have lost their “warrior” centre-half Tom Aldred but their defensive strength in depth will more than make up for his absence.

That’s according to Peter Hartley, who appears to be the natural replacement for Aldred having made the move from Bristol Rovers last month.

The 29-year-old started Pool’s 3-1 friendly win at Southport on Saturday alongside Will Aimson, having partnered Clark Robertson during last week’s 1-0 defeat to Dundee United.

Hartley is well aware he has competition on his hands if he wants to nail down a starting spot when the Seasiders begin the season at Bradford City on August 5.

He said: “I played with Will at Southport and I played with Clark last week. I’ve not played with Curtis (Tilt) yet but that’s four good, capable centre-halves we’ve got.

“So there’s competition for places, which is always good because if you want to be successful that’s something you need in your team.”

All four centre-backs put in steady displays at Haig Avenue but there will be tougher tests to come in preparation for the return to League One.

Gary Bowyer’s men controlled the game against their National League North opponents in what was their first public pre-season friendly.

“It was a good workout and I enjoyed it,” Hartley said. “We’ve been working on a few patterns of play with the gaffer and we put a lot of that work into the game, so there are definitely a lot of positives to take.

“It’s early doors, though. We’ve only played two teams, so there’s a still a lot to build on but we’re moving forward.

“We did OK against Dundee United but we definitely took a step forward at Southport. Now we’ve got to do that again next week and then the week after. Then we need to take that forward momentum into Bradford away.”

Hartley, who is one of the club’s seven recruits so far, is still getting to know his new team-mates but has been made to feel welcome.

He added: “The week in Scotland did us the world of good because you’re living with each other 24 hours a day, so you get to know the lads fairly quickly. It’s a fantastic group and I’ve bedded in really well.

“It’s like home from home for me, so credit to the lads for that because they’ve been brilliant with me. They’ve been the same with the other new signings as well.”