Hartley vows to fight for place in Blackpool back line

Peter Hartley
Peter Hartley
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Peter Hartley believes the competition for places at Blackpool will help take the club forward this season.

The defender was one of nine changes made by manager Gary Bowyer for Tuesday’s 2-1 Carabao Cup loss at Wigan Athletic.

However, those players who came in after the opening day defeat at Bradford City all staked their claim to start at home to MK Dons on Saturday.

Hartley finds himself up against strong opposition for one of either two or three central defensive berths, depending on Bowyer’s tactical approach.

“The dressing room is very strong and they put an amazing shift in on Saturday,” Hartley said.

“We have got to get our heads down now and work hard because your luck always changes with hard work.

“We have some real quality in our side. You look at Clark (Robertson), Will (Aimson) and Tilty (Curtis Tilt), who played phenomenally at Bradford.

“I just want to earn the right to get in the team and I hope I’ve given the gaffer something to think about for Saturday.

“The manager has the hardest job in the world because they have to pick the 11 but it’s a marathon and I’ll bide my time. When I’m selected I’ll give everything I’ve got to stay in the team.”

A summer arrival from Bristol Rovers, Hartley might have considered himself unfortunate not to have started on the first day.

Nevertheless, the 29-year-old impressed at the DW Stadium and may – or may not – have grabbed his first goal for the club.

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With the Seasiders trailing to first-half goals from Josh Laurent and Jordan Flores, they pulled one back on the hour.

Andy Taylor’s corner was definitely met by Armand Gnanduillet but the ball seemed to take a deflection off Hartley on its way into the net.

Gnanduillet was credited with the goal at the time and celebrated accordingly but Hartley has other ideas.

“It’s my goal; don’t play games with me!” he joked afterwards.

“The ball did connect with my head, shoulder and hip - I think it definitely hit me last.

“I’m just disappointed that we couldn’t get the other goal because we had them under the cosh for the last 15 minutes.”