CJ Hamilton itching for return to action with Blackpool

Blackpool’s pre-season programme begins in earnest at Southport on Saturday and CJ Hamilton is “itching” to get going again.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 8:00 am

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Asked if he is hoping for another season like the last one, the Seasiders forward has mixed feelings. Hamilton would love the team to be as successful in the Championship as they were in League One but he wants no repeat of the injuries which restricted him to 26 appearances in 2020/21.

A hamstring problem at the turn of the year was followed by foot surgery in March. However, Hamilton defied predictions that his season was over by coming off the bench to share in Pool’s play-off final glory.

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CJ Hamilton overcame injury to feature in the final moments of Blackpool's glorious season at Wembley

The 26-year-old said: “I picked up two injuries, which was the first time I’d picked up injuries in any season.

“It was unfortunate it happened, but to get another pre-season under my belt will be good for me and hopefully I can have an injury-free season.

“I don’t know how I managed to do it (recover in time for the final), but I was so glad to be out there on the pitch to help the boys at Wembley.

“A couple of weeks before the final we were waiting for the results of a scan. Once that happened, it gave me the green light.

“Then it was just down to the gaffer to decide if I was fit enough to be involved and he chose me, which I was obviously grateful for.

“I got a few messages from people who were quite surprised to see me back, but what better way to return than in a play-off final at Wembley?

“I gave my family a little hint but I didn’t want to say too much just in case I wasn’t involved – they would have been disappointed.”

Hamilton was on the field barely 15 minutes at Wembley but doesn’t hesitate to describe the day as a career highlight.

He added: “It’s probably the best moment I’ve had. Not many players get promotions and to do it at Wembley is the best way.

“It’s crazy how the season went. At the start, we knew as a group how good we were and that we were capable of doing something special. It was just a case of asking others to be patient with us.

“Sometimes it can take time for a new squad to gel and for the manager to get things the way he wants.

“Once we got through those first 10 games we were flying. We went on a little run before Christmas and then another one after that as well. It was just mad.

“It’s such a great bunch and everyone is willing to put everything out on the pitch for each other.”

And now Hamilton hopes that spirit will stand Blackpool in good stead at the higher level after coming through pre-season.

“I got away to Portugal, so I tried to make the most of the break but I was itching to get back,” said Hamilton, as he builds towards the second season of his three-year deal.

“It will be nice to meet up with the new players and get them in and around the group.

“I’m itching to get back, but when you get out there and see the cones set up you do think to yourself, ‘Do I really want this?’

“But it’s all part and parcel of the game and I’ll be fit in no time, so I won’t be complaining.”

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