Brave Tom’s comeback target

Tom Barkhuizen
Tom Barkhuizen
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Tom Barkhuizen is staying positive despite scans revealing he has broken his collarbone in three places.

Blackpool’s Bispham-based 21-year-old made his third start of the season against Middlesbrough on Saturday but ended up in hospital after a second-half collision.

It was initially feared the winger would miss the rest of the season but it’s now hoped he will be back in action within six weeks of tomorrow’s operation.

Barkhuizen said: “Hopefully everything will go well on Thursday, though I won’t be able to doing anything for a few weeks.

“I was busy focusing on the back of my head after I went down but Phil (Horner, physio) came over and asked if I could move my arm. I couldn’t because it was too sore, so obviously that was game over.

“They’ve said it’s fractured in three places and dislocated as well. It’s not a good one but I’ve just got to get on with it now.

“Originally it could have been season over but the fact that I’ll be back around the middle of March has made me feel a lot better.

“Hopefully I can get back in the team and start helping again. I know that if I do work hard I will have a chance of playing again, which is what every young player wants.”

Barkhuizen has started Pool’s last two games and scored a sensational goal in the FA Cup defeat at Bolton.

It’s a reward for his patience after loan spells at Hereford and Fleetwood Town.

Barkuizen added: “The Championship is a lot more difficult than the levels I had been playing at but I’ve been reasonably happy with how I’ve done. I don’t think I’ve looked out of place.

“I’ve played a lot more than I thought I would this season, but the gaffer said I’d get an opportunity and he’s been true to his word.

“It’s up to me now to try to get back in the team and prove to him that I can stay there.

“I have to prove I’m not just there because I’m local. I work hard and do my best.”

While many are bemoaning the Seasiders’ lack of attacking options, the situation did mean Barkhuizen got his chance.

“I was hoping I could get a good run of games this month, with the squad being as it is,” he said.

“You want players to come in but you have to take your chance when it comes.

“I’m disappointed that’s been cut short but I’ll just have to come back a lot better.

“My fitness levels should be fine. It’s just the contact that’s going to hold me back.”

Barkhuizen won’t be able to help Pool on Saturday at Barnsley as they bid to end a terrible run of eight defeats in nine games, but he is convinced the club’s fortunes will turn around.

He insisted: “We’re not playing that badly, though in a couple of games you could say we haven’t played as well as we can.

“We played really well in the first half against Middlesbrough, and I thought the second half at Bolton was the best we’ve played all season.

“We’re due a bit of luck but that first win will see us start turning things around.”