Matty Virtue is hoping to make his first start of the season tonight when Blackpool open their EFL Trophy account against Morecambe.
The midfielder came off the bench in the final minutes of Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Portsmouth in what was his first action of the season.
The 22-year-old has endured a frustrating couple of months after a thigh injury sustained in the pre-season friendly at AFC Fylde kept him sidelined.
But tonight’s cup tie gives the promising midfielder the ideal opportunity to get some vital minutes into his legs.
He said: “It was a frustrating time to get injured really just as I was getting up and running in pre-season.
“You want to build your foundation for the season but I couldn’t do that.
“I was scheduled to get my first minutes in this game but I came back a bit earlier than expected and came off the bench at the weekend, which was a bonus.
“The manager threw me on for the final five minutes or so which was pleasing.
“You build yourself up for that first competitive fixture so when you get injured you know you’ll be a bit behind the other lads, which is frustrating.
“But this game has come at a good time so hopefully I can get some good minutes to help me catch up on that fitness.”
While Virtue has been desperate to get a taste of competitive action, the former Liverpool man knows it was right to give it as long as possible to make sure he was right.
“The staff here have always told me to take my time to make sure I’m right because it’s a long season ahead,” he added.
“You don’t want to come back too soon and re-injure it, which would obviously set you back even further.
“I’ve never actually played in it before to be honest so if I’m lucky enough to play against Morecambe it will be my first appearance in it.
“I’m not too sure on it, it’s a bit of an unknown for me so I’ll just have to find out.
“But we want a winning mentality around this place where we’re wanting to win every game we play in.
“We want to be at the top of the league and we want to be in finals of competitions if we can.”
With Pool’s strength in depth, Virtue knows he has to take his chance when it comes his way, adding: “If you look around the squad it’s looking very strong and there’s now numerous players for each place.
“The standard in training is good and I think it’s going to be like that for the whole season.”