"Perfect opportunity" for Blackpool goalkeeper Mark Howard at Salford City says Simon Grayson

Mark Howard made his Salford debut in the win over Mansfield
Mark Howard made his Salford debut in the win over Mansfield
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Simon Grayson has described Mark Howard’s loan move to Salford City as the “perfect opportunity” for the Blackpool goalkeeper.

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The 33-year-old played the full 90 minutes for the League Two side in Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Mansfield Town.

It came after Howard joined Graham Alexander’s side on an emergency seven-day loan deal on the day of the game.

Howard’s appearance was his first competitive start for seven months, having only just returned from surgery on his ruptured Achilles.

The shot stopper, who turned out for Blackpool’s reserves earlier this month, is now hoping to force his way back into the first-team at Bloomfield Road.

“Grezza rung me on Monday night because they’ve lost two goalkeepers and we just felt it was a perfect opportunity,” Grayson explained to The Gazette.

“He goes away and gets two games under his belt and we will assess where we are next week.

“It’s good for him to be playing and great for him to be in and around it.

“It’s for a week then they will have to see where they are with their goalkeepers.

“But if we want to extend it, and they’re allowed to do it, we will see where we go with it.”

Grayson was speaking after his Blackpool side ground out a battling 1-1 draw with high-flying Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday night.

It wasn’t the greatest of spectacles, as the Seasiders struggled for creativity once again, but Grayson was pleased to see his side nearing full strength once again as Sullay Kaikai and Jordan Thompson made their returns.

“We’re always looking to be better in that final third,” the Pool boss added.

“First half we probably didn’t have a shot on target but to be fair, I don’t think Jak Alnwick has had a save to make either against a team that were trying to go top of the division.

“It was one of those games where there wasn’t a great deal of quality in the final third, although there was plenty of endeavour and workrate in the middle third.

“A lot of players will certainly benefit from their game time and look stronger over the next few weeks.

“It was good for us to see the likes of Sullay get 90 minutes, Nathan Delfouneso got plenty of game time and Joe Nuttall came on as well, so we had a lot more strength in depth to the team.

“I turned around to the bench to see plenty of options. You also look at the lads who are out of the squad, with Ryan Hardie the only one who is injured at the minute.

“But you’ve still got Calum Macdonald, Ewan Bange, Nathan Shaw, Nick Anderton, Michael Nottingham - so we have good competition for places.”