Derek Adams was a surprise appointment as Morecambe manager yesterday ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup visit to Blackpool. But it was another contender for the job that raised most eyebrows around the Fylde coast.
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Former Pool boss Terry McPhillips is thought to have been in the frame for the post made available by Jim Bentley’s move to AFC Fylde, and he featured prominently in the bookies’ odds.
This will have come as a big surprise to many Blackpool fans, given the 51-year-old cited a lack of interest in being a manager when he stepped down from his role at Bloomfield Road in the summer.
His statement at the time of his resignation read: “While discussing the option of a new contract, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on things and feel that the time is now right for me to step aside.
“I never really had any intention of becoming a manager, yet I stepped up in difficult circumstances last season because the club needed some stability.
“That stability has now been achieved and an exciting future awaits under Simon Sadler’s ownership.
“It’s been an honour to manage Blackpool in the short-term, and I will forever cherish the fact that I was in charge of the team when all the fans returned for the homecoming match against Southend United.
“I would like to thank the players and coaching staff for all their efforts and wish everybody connected with the club the very best of luck for the future.”
McPhillips always seemed reluctant to take the Blackpool job after Gary Bowyer’s surprise resignation after the first game of last season.
But, following a successful interim period, he warmed to the idea and eventually opted to take it on a full-time basis.
But even then, he never appeared wholly comfortable in the role. McPhillips was at his best working alongside Bowyer, working as a go-between with the boss and the players. When the responsibility fell solely on his head, he just wasn’t the right fit.
But it seems McPhillips has now had a change of heart as I gather his agent is touting his name around for various vacancies.
But why – after all the turmoil he endured at Blackpool – was he tempted by Morecambe, another club that appears mired in problems?
Or is it just a case of taking whatever job he can get?
The Shrimps are rooted to the bottom of League Two and are staring down the barrel of a return to non-league after 12 years.
Bentley, who spent 17 years at the club in various roles, cited issues with the club’s owners as a reason for why he was happy to depart.
There have long been problems behind the scenes at the Globe Arena, so the manager’s job does appear – on the face of it – to be a bit of a poisoned chalice.
For Blackpool, Saturday’s game is an opportunity to progress in a cup competition for the second time this week. The Seasiders, who reached the knockout stages of the EFL Trophy with their late winner against Wolves’ Under-21s on Tuesday, have already encountered Morecambe this season.
Simon Grayson’s men handed out a 5-1 thrashing in the EFL Trophy to the unfortunate Shrimps, who didn’t actually perform that badly on the night.
The scoreline flattered Blackpool, who were in clinical form in front of goal, but nevertheless they will be aiming for a repeat performance tomorrow.
Do Pool stick with the changed side we saw on Tuesday night? Or do they return to full strength as if it was a normal league game?
That’s the conundrum that faces Grayson, who should be able to select from a fully-fit squad for the first time in a while.
Jordan Thompson, who was rated as 85 per cent fit last weekend despite being left out against Peterborough, should come back into contention.
The midfielder, who will miss next week’s league game against AFC Wimbledon following his international call-up, was seen taking part in a fitness test on the pitch with physio Phil Horner prior to Tuesday night’s game.
Other than Nick Anderton, who is currently sidelined with a hairline fracture in a foot, the Seasiders have everyone fit and available.