Deals for teenage trio as Blackpool builds for future

Blackpool boss  Terry McPhillips watches Oliver Watkinson sign his first professional contract
Blackpool boss Terry McPhillips watches Oliver Watkinson sign his first professional contract

Three potential stars of the future have put pen to paper on their first professional contracts with Blackpool FC.

READ MORE: Work under way on Bloomfield Road pitch

Sean Graham, Emil Jaaskelainen and Owen Watkinson, all 18, have signed one-year deals at Bloomfield Road with the option to extend by a further 12 months.

Graham, a left-sided player who has operated at wing-back this season, moved to the Seasiders from Northern Ireland two years ago.

Striker Jaaskelainen is the son of former West Ham and Bolton Wanderers keeper Jussi. He provided goals and assists for the youth team this season and has been away with Finland on youth training camps.

Forward Watkinson was the youth team’s top scorer this season and spent time on loan with Bamber Bridge.

He and Graham were nominated for the club’s Youth Team Player of the Season accolade

Academy manager Warren Green said: “There’s still a lot of development for the lads to go through but we’re delighted they’re getting this opportunity.

“It’s our directive to get players into the first team and Sean, Emil and Owen have come on massively in the last 12 months.

“Emil has really kicked on in his second year as has Sean, who has come on in leaps and bounds, especially in the last three months. The first-team really recognise that as well.

“Owen wears his heart on his sleeve and there’s potential there, which is why we loaned him to Bamber Bridge to monitor how he does against lads a little older.

“It’s still a big gap to make that step up to the first-team, but we’ll continue to see how all three get on.

“And we’ll look at further opportunities to get them more experience.”

Youth Team Player of the Season Nathan Shaw, who was named on the first-team bench several times, has also been offered a professional contract.

Will Avon, Sam Maddox, Brendan O’Brien, Harvey Simson and Tom Williams have all been released.