Free week a big boost for new boy Ben Heneghan says Blackpool boss Simon Grayson

Ben Heneghan applauds the Blackpool fans after his cameo comeback at Rochdale
Ben Heneghan applauds the Blackpool fans after his cameo comeback at Rochdale
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Blackpool’s free week should give returning defender Ben Heneghan more than enough time to get up to speed.

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That’s according to manager Simon Grayson, who also spoke of his delight at bringing the 25-year-old back to Bloomfield Road.

The centre-back was on the bench for Blackpool’s 0-0 draw at Rochdale on Saturday, coming on for the four minutes of stoppage time.

Heneghan might not have seen a lot of game-time this summer with his parent club Sheffield United, but Grayson says the defender will be ready when called upon.

The Pool boss said: “I think he’s played three or four games but we have a clear week. We will get the right balance between giving the players time off and getting work into them ready for the Portsmouth game, which is going to be a massive game for us.

“We have plenty of time to get Ben ready as well as some other players.”

Bringing Heneghan back to Blackpool on a loan spell that runs until January was a no-brainer for Grayson.

He added: “When I knew he was available and we could strike a deal with Sheffield United, it was an easy decision to make.

“That’s not just because of how well he did last year but also because I know just what a good player he is.

“He certainly adds to the competition for places we’re going to have and that’s great from my perspective as a manager. He won’t need any time to settle in because he knows the club and he knows the players, even if the club is a little bit different to last year.

“He did comment on the training ground and the pitches and all the other stuff that has happened since Simon Sadler has come into the football club.”

Heneghan’s return coincided with the exits of Jamie Devitt and Ben Tollitt on loan to Bradford City and Wrexham respectively.

Explaining why they were allowed to leave, Grayson added: “When players are not getting much game-time and other clubs enquire about them, I feel I’ve got an obligation to let those players know.

“As long as we’re covered, then it will be the players’ decision.

“Both of them wanted first-team football, which is commendable because they could quite easily stay at our club and pick up the money.

“That just shows you what we’re trying to do and we’ve still got time left in the window to try to do some more business.

“I won’t put any figures on it because I’ve learned from that many times in the past but we will be looking to bring new players in.”

Jordan Thompson has been called up to the Northern Ireland squad.

Michael O’Neill’s side face Luxembourg in a friendly next Thursday before hosting Germany in a Euro 2020 qualifier at Windsor Park the following Monday.

It means the 22-year-old, who has enjoyed a fine start to the season, will be unavailable for Blackpool’s EFL Trophy game against Morecambe on Tuesday and the League One visit to Coventry City the following Saturday.