Herron’s here but Pool must strike more deals

John Herron
John Herron
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Neil McDonald has made his fifth signing as Blackpool manager but remains light on firepower just four days before pre-season training begins.

With top teen prospect Dom Telford yet to sign a contract, the only recognised striker on the books at Bloomfield Road is Nile Ranger, who has been staying away from the club since November.

McDonald has made it clear the door is open to former Newcastle bad boy Ranger, who was stunned to have his contract extended, but the manager must wait until training on Monday to see whether the 24-year-old will take up his offer.

But the search for forwards is likely to be a priority for McDonald, who yesterday kick-started his summer recruitment drive by signing former Celtic midfielder John Herron.

It’s a move likely to underwhelm Pool fans, hoping to see the club sign more senior professionals around whom a team can be built.

The 21-year-old Herron managed only two appearances in his four seasons as a professional with the Scottish giants before being released last month.

His only other senior football was a five-match loan spell at Cowdenbeath last season, which included their 10-0 thrashing by Hearts.

But the Scotland Under-21 midfielder insists he’s ready to step out of the shadows and make his name in English football.

“I need to play games now. The manager is going to give me that chance,” he said.

“At Celtic I didn’t really get a chance to go and play. If I don’t perform well now, I don’t deserve to play. I’ve got to take that chance and earn my place in the team.

“I had other options in Scotland and in England, in higher leagues as well – the Championship.

“The way the manager spoke, what he wants to happen, the progression he wants – it was the only place to come.”

Herron believes Pool belong at a higher level, adding: “It’s a bigger club that the league it is in. Last year it didn’t perform as well as it should have done.

“But I spoke to the manager about the way he wants to play football. He wants to get the ball down and pass it a lot more, and that will suit me.

“I won a lot at Celtic and I’m here to take this club back to where it needs to be.”

Previous Pool boss Lee Clark and several former players may have branded the club “toxic”, but Herron has been impressed by the atmosphere around the club created by McDonald.

“He sounded like a normal man,” said Herron, who had been at Celtic since he was eight.

“You get a lot of managers who sound scripted in the way they speak and come across. That gets to a lot of players.

“He came across so nice, and coming down here and meeting the assistant manager and the physio, I was made to feel welcome straight away. The atmosphere was excellent.

“The only thing now is progression and that’s what I want.”