Ikpeazu debut makes impression on Pool boss

Blackpool's Uche Ikpeazu takes on Walsall's James O'Connor and Andy Taylor
Blackpool's Uche Ikpeazu takes on Walsall's James O'Connor and Andy Taylor
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Blackpool new boy Uche Ikpeazu will make his Bloomfield Road debut this evening with a ringing endorsement from his boss.

After impressing as a second-half substitute in Saturday’s draw at Walsall, the Watford loan striker has thrown himself into contention for a start against Sheffield United tonight (7.45pm).

Manager Neil McDonald has sung the 20-year-old’s praises since the weekend, claiming he offers a different dimension to Pool’s other striking options.

And the Pool boss feels Ikpeazu can be a hugely important weapon in their armoury.

McDonald said: “We have been aiming for different types of centre-forwards and we have some now, which is great. It gives us real competition and options up there.

“Uche did well when he came on on Saturday. Danny Philliskirk scored himself another goal, Mark Paterson is back fit and Jack Redshaw is playing really well too, so we have different types.

“I think we have the ability to change tack now. We can go long if we want to, we can play in behind too with the pace we have or we can play short. We are pleased with the options.”

Four points from their last two games have lifted Pool a point clear of the League One drop zone, but a negative display could see them dragged back in if Shrewsbury and Fleetwood manage better results tonight .

That said, McDonald is delighted with the progress his side is making, especially in the transfer market following the captures of Ikpeazu and the Oldham duo of Philliskirk and Mark Yeates.

He added: “The more points we pick up the higher we’ll climb the table. We are still learning and we still have lots of improving to make, but we are making progress. If we keep doing that, we’ll pick up more points than we lose.”

McDonald criticised Pool’s travelling fans for a “lack of support” in the defeat by Burton at the start of the month, but he praised them at Walsall and is looking forward to playing in front of them this evening.

“I thought the fans were really good on Saturday,” he said. “I asked the fans to get behind the team last time we went away and I really thought they did that.

“We didn’t concede in front of them and we scored the equaliser at their end too.

“It was great to see everyone jumping around in front of them. We want to share decent results with them.”