Cullen thanks boss after 'wasted' Blackpool season

Mark Cullen
Mark Cullen

Mark Cullen has thanked Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer for showing the faith to award him another contract at the club.

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The 25-year-old, who agreed a fresh one-year deal on Tuesday with the option for a further 12 months, has endured an injury-plagued campaign, making just nine appearances all season.

He featured in the first three League One games before suffering a hamstring injury and was eventually forced to undergo surgery in October, which kept him out of action for over seven months.

Cullen had been the club’s play-off hero the previous season, scoring a hat-trick against former club Luton Town in the semi-finals and the winner at Wembley against Exeter City.

That has made this season’s injury problems all the more frustrating for Cullen, who was delighted to pen a new deal.

He said: “I’m over the moon to get it tied up as quickly as we have.

“I’m really grateful to the club and to the manager for the faith they have shown in me after what’s been a frustrating season for me.

“It’s been a season wasted really. It’s a short career, so I personally feel as though I’ve got a bit of making up to do.

“I’m really looking forward to the start of next season and trying to put this one to bed because it’s been a wasted one on a personal level.

“It’s through no fault of my own but these things happen.

“My missus and my kids are happy where we are. She didn’t want to move away and I’m happy at the club as well.

“So to sign a longer contract is pleasing for everyone.”

Cullen returned from his injury lay-off at the start of April and went on to make six substitute appearances in the final games of the season.

He was just beginning to regain match fitness when the League campaign ended, leaving Cullen looking forward to pre-season.

He added: “It was hard for me to get properly match fit. There wasn’t enough time to arrange many reserve games or behind closed doors games to get the minutes in.

“So I was trying to get fit through training and then get as many minutes as possible on a match day, be it five minutes here or there.

“It was hard for me but I did feel like I was building it up and I played 20 minutes or so in the last game, which is the most I’ve played since returning.

“But now the end of the season is here I can go away, get myself right and look forward to pre-season.”

Blackpool are reportedly among a group of clubs interested in signing Dundee United midfielder Scott Fraser.

The Daily Express reports that the Seasiders, Burton Albion and Hearts are all fighting for the Scot’s signature.

The 23-year-old, described as a playmaker who can also play across the midfield, has hit four goals for the Scottish Championship outfit this season.

Dundee-born Fraser progressed through the youth ranks at Tannadice before breaking into the first team three seasons ago.

He spent the 2014/15 season on loan at Airdrie in Scottish League One, hitting five league goals in 28 games.

Having turned 23 in March, the out-of-contract Fraser is entitled to leave his club for nothing this summer.