Eager leader

Blackpool's Keith Southern
Blackpool's Keith Southern
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KEITH Southern says he has been honoured to captain the Seasiders in pre-season – but he doesn’t know how long it will last.

The 30-year-old has led the team out against Rangers and Oldham in the build-up to his 10th season at the club.

Manager Ian Holloway has stated that a captain should play in the middle of the park, and while the club’s longest-serving player was the natural choice, new signing Barry Ferguson could give him a run for his money.

Southern said: “It has been an honour. I’m very proud to have been given the armband for the two games so far.

“I will lead the boys out for as long as the gaffer wants to me to. I’m a proud man.

“Even if was only for a couple of games, I don’t mind. I’ve enjoyed it.

“I’ll play the same whether I’ve got a band around my arm or not. Whether I’m captain, starting or even coming off the bench, I’ll always give my all for this club.”

A pre-season injury against Bristol City last year saw Southern lose his place in Pool’s starting line-up when their Premier League campaign got under way.

He spent most of the season on the bench and so fully appreciates the importance of getting through this part of the year fully fit.

“Pre-season is false for me,” he added. “Coming through it fit and injury-free is all that matters,” he said.

“These games serve a purpose but they aren’t great really, are they? It’s all about getting fit for the start of the season.

“It was poor at Oldham on Saturday. We never really got going. We let in a pretty diabolical goal early on and that set the tone really.

“But we all got another 45 minutes under our belt and no-one got injured, so there were positives.

“Saturday was to give everyone a run-out really. In the next two games, I imagine the manager will use fewer players.

New signing Ferguson is set for his second Pool appearance against Hibs tonight and Southern believes the Scot will be a great addition whose signing sends out an important message.

He said: “I thought Barry did well on Saturday. He’s obviously a class player.

“He’s just been learning our names to start with, so it was difficult for him on Saturday but he’s a quality player. Good players will always settle in quickly at any club.

“We’ve lost Charlie Adam and David Vaughan, and we may yet lose DJ Campbell, so it was important that we went out and made a statement. Getting Barry Ferguson in is a big statement, I think.”