Michael Nottingham: I got into my best shape only to end up in worse position at Blackpool

Michael Nottingham says he got himself fitter than ever for Blackpool this season, though it’s Crewe Alexandra who have been reaping the benefits.

By Matt Scrafton
Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 6:00 am

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The defender told The Gazette he was determined to be a regular starter in his second season with the Seasiders, but after a frustrating first half to the campaign he was loaned to the League Two Alex in January.

That move was working well for Nottingham, who turned 31 last week, until last month’s football shutdown.

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Michael Nottingham in action against Carlisle United in the EFL Trophy in October - his last appearance for Blackpool

But it wasn’t how the Birmingham-born full-back had envisaged his season working out after an encouraging debut campaign in League One.

Nottingham, who had spent his whole career in non-league, made 39 appearances for Pool in 2018-19, 29 of them in the EFL.

But despite his best efforts to impress, Nottingham managed only three League One appearances this season under Simon Grayson and six for Pool in all.

He is seeing out the final months of his Seasiders contract with the Railwaymen, having last played for his parent club in mid-October.

Nottingham said of his season: “It was weird. At the end of last season, I wouldn’t say I was upset but I actually wished I had played more.

“Even though I featured in almost 40 games last season, my aim was to come back in pre-season as fit as possible and have a right go to make sure I’m starting every week.

“I was the fittest I’ve ever been, but it’s mad to think I came back in better shape but ended up in a worse position.

“I came on as a sub for the first three games and then I didn’t really feature again, apart from some cup games.

“I played in pre-season and I thought I did very well, so I didn’t see how or why I had played myself out of the team. I never really got a real explanation for it.”

And he’s unlikely to get one now, Grayson having been sacked and replaced by Neil Critchley since Nottingham moved out.

Critchley is Blackpool’s fourth boss since Nottingham joined less than two years ago – Gary Bowyer was still in charge when he signed.

But the defender has been enjoying regular League Two football with Crewe, making 12 appearances since his loan move.

“It’s been brilliant,” he added. “It was important for me to get out and get some games under my belt because I didn’t feature at all for the first half of the season.

“It was important for me to get back in the shop window in terms of getting back into Simon’s eyes – at the time anyway – because I wasn’t getting my chance. But obviously he’s not there now.”