Longstaff reaping rewards says Blackpool boss

Sean Longstaff
Sean Longstaff

Gary Bowyer believes that midfielder Sean Longstaff is reaping the benefits of playing regular first-team football with Blackpool.

The 19-year-old, who is on loan from Newcastle United until January 6, has scored on all four League One appearances for Pool, netting the winner against AFC Wimbledon last Saturday.

MK Dons, Doncaster Rovers and Oldham Athletic have also fallen victim to Longstaff this season, with his strike against Oldham arguably the best of the lot.

Manager Bowyer said of that strike: “There were 19 passes in the build-up and only two players who weren’t involved.

“It was an unbelievable goal, finished off by a wonderful strike from Sean.

“I’m biased but if he doesn’t win player of the month for August after scoring three goals from midfield.... (Longstaff isn’t on the shortlist). He’s really taken to it.

“We knew he was calm in front of goal but we haven’t seen that yet because he hasn’t got within 25 yards!

“He’s a great kid, who has greatly changed physically and mentally in the time he’s been here.

“Long term, he’s going to be a very good player. We’re delighted he chose to come and play football with us.

“He has a smile on his face day to day but he knows there are areas of his game he needs to improve on.

“He’d had a loan spell at Kilmarnock, so we were aware of him and we watched him in games.

“He’s done ever so well, he’s developing fabulously and he’s getting the game time which is what he wanted.”

Longstaff is one of a number of younger players to have contributed to the club’s good start to the season, along with the likes of fellow loanees Callum Cooke and Viv Solomon-Otabor, as well as Bright Osayi-Samuel before his deadline day move to Queens Park Rangers.

Last week’s Checkatrade Trophy tie with Wigan Athletic also gave Blackpool fans the chance to look at some of those players hoping to impress Bowyer.

Eleven changes from the side which defeated Oldham saw starting spots for fringe players such as Danny Philliskirk and Max Clayton.

For good measure, Rowan Roache and Fin Sinclair-Smith both came off the bench in the second half.

Sinclair-Smith marked his cameo with a late equaliser while both took part in the shootout with Roache scoring and Sinclair-Smith missing.

Bowyer said: “We said before the game ‘Give me a problem, don’t make it easy for me, don’t turn in a performance where I don’t have to consider you.’

“There were some who gave us food for thought and I was delighted we were able to get Rowan and Fin on the pitch.”