Michael Appleton kicks off second spell as Blackpool boss with Southport friendly

Michael Appleton takes charge of his first game as Blackpool boss today since returning to Bloomfield Road for a second spell.

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Albeit only a friendly, it will still be Appleton’s first game in charge of the Seasiders since a 1-1 draw against Fulham in the FA Cup in January 2013.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he told Tangerine TV.

“I know the players are desperate to get back to the competitive stuff, but it’s always a little bit nerve-wracking as well because you always want to keep as many players fit in pre-season as possible.

“I want them to stay fit to make my job really difficult, because when players are injured sometimes your job becomes easy because you have to pick certain players in positions because they’re the only ones available.

“But I hope Saturday goes the way we want it to in terms of getting 45 minutes out of the majority of players and keep them all healthy.”

Appleton's side travel to Southport for their opening pre-season friendly of the summer

The Seasiders have now completed two weeks of pre-season training ahead of their Championship curtain raiser against Reading on Saturday, July 30.

It’s given Appleton valuable time to get to know his new players and figure out what’s at his disposal ahead of the new campaign.

“It’s been good,” he added.

“First and foremost you want to keep as many players fit as you possibly can. We’ve had one or two pick up knocks, which tends to happen.

“But overall, in terms of what I’ve asked from them and the understanding I’m getting from them, it’s been pretty good.

“You tend to find now these days the players come back pretty fit and they’re in a shape where they can kick on really early.

“They’ve shown quite a bit of sharpness in the first 10 days or so and with the friendlies starting to come around the corner, you can tell one or two are really itching to get out there and play some competitive games.”