Mark Howard and Donervon Daniels could return for Blackpool's FA Cup clash at Exeter

Mark Howard is not certain to start at Exeter even if the keeper is passed fit
Mark Howard is not certain to start at Exeter even if the keeper is passed fit

Both Mark Howard and Donervon Daniels have returned to training and could come into contention for Blackpool’s FA Cup clash at Exeter City on Saturday

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First-choice keeper Howard has missed Blackpool’s last two games after picking up a thigh injury in the 2-1 Carabao Cup defeat against Arsenal at the Emirates.

Daniels has not featured since straining a hamstring in the warm-up before the 3-2 defeat at Fleetwood Town.

Both are key players for manager Terry McPhillips, who will want both available as he looks to name a strong team at St James Park.

The Pool boss said: “Both joined in training on Thursday, so it was good to see them back on the pitch. That means they’re getting closer and we will see how they react from that.

“We will assess all the lads from Tuesday night (when Pool won 1-0 at Gillingham).

“We’ll say to them, ‘Be honest, if you’re exhausted let us know and we’ll give somebody else a go’, so I think there might be a couple of other changes, that’s all.”

If they are available, Howard and Daniels are not guaranteed to go straight back into the starting line-up. That’s because their replacements Christoffer Mafoumbi and Ben Heneghan were among the stand-out performers against the Gills.

Mafoumbi recovered from a shaky display against Bristol Rovers last Saturday to make several key saves as Pool kept their ninth clean sheet of the season.

Heneghan, who partnered Curtis Tilt in the centre of the back four at Priestfield, was also in fine form as he kept League One’s top scorer Tom Eaves quiet.

McPhillips added: “That’s football, that’s the competition. I thought Christoffer did really well to help us get a clean sheet and a win. That was good.

“He made a key save at the end and a couple of others before that as well.

“Ben was terrific up against the league’s top scorer as well.”

n Blackpool midfielder Jordan Thompson has been promoted to Northern Ireland’s senior squad for their games against the Republic of Ireland and Austria.

Thompson won his first caps against Panama in May and Costa Rica days later.

Northern Ireland take on the Republic in Dublin next Thursday before hosting Austria in their Nations League fixture at Windsor Park on Sunday, November 18.

It means the midfielder will miss Blackpool’s Checkatrade Trophy game at home to Accrington Stanley on Tuesday and the trip to Southend United the following Saturday.

Also included in the 28-man squad is former Seasider Kyle Vassell, who made his debut last month.