Rob Apter will get his chance to stake a claim for Blackpool's first-team

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Highly-rated youngster Rob Apter will get his chance to stake a claim for a first-team role over the coming weeks.
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That’s according to head coach Michael Appleton, who has been impressed with what he’s seen from the 19-year-old attacking midfielder during the opening weeks of pre-season training.

Apter, who spent time on loan with Bamber Bridge and Chester last season, even managed to catch the eye playing at right-back during the pre-season opener at Southport at the weekend.

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“I just think he’s got that much athleticism and he’s so busy with the ball,” Appleton said of his decision to start him out of position.

“It doesn’t happen too often, a leftie playing on the right, yet it’s accepted at times with a right footer playing at left-back.

“He’s more than comfortable dealing with that at this level though. Rob is going to be a decent player, he’s going to be fine.

“Rob is going to be with us as much as we can and when he comes in he doesn’t look out of place with the group, so it was a good runout for him and I think he enjoyed himself.”

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Apter is highly thought of at Bloomfield RoadApter is highly thought of at Bloomfield Road
Apter is highly thought of at Bloomfield Road

Born in Liverpool, Apter signed his first professional contract with the club in November 2020.

He made his senior debut later that month during an EFL Trophy win over Leeds United’s Under-23 side, before making his first league appearance in a 5-0 drubbing of Wigan Athletic in January 2021.

While Apter agreed a new two-and-a-half-year deal with the club in December of last year, the Scotland Under-19 international has yet to make another first-team appearance.

While Apter predominately likes to play in the final third of the pitch, it has been suggested he could feature in Blackpool’s midfield three as part of Appleton’s new 4-3-3 system.

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However, if that proves to be the case he will face competition from players like Sonny Carey and Keshi Anderson, who both impressed at Haig Avenue at the weekend.

“They were good,” Appleton said.

“If we can get players in those little number eight positions with Sonny and Keshi and get them running off the ball and without the ball then we’ll give ourselves a real good chance of being dangerous this season.”