Simon Grayson delighted with impact of Blackpool's debutants in Bristol Rovers win

Simon Grayson says he was happy with the contribution Blackpool’s six new debutants made in Saturday’s opening day victory against Bristol Rovers.

Monday, 5th August 2019, 12:31 pm
Goalkeeper Jak Alnwick kept a clean sheet on his Blackpool debut

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Simon Grayson hails a winning start on the field and off for Blackpool

Jak Alnwick, James Husband, Ryan Edwards and Sullay Kaikai were all handed their first starts for the club in the 2-0 victory.

Recent additions Rocky Bushiri and Joe Nuttall later arrived onto the pitch off the bench.

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“I thought all the new boys settled in well,” Grayson said.

“It was nice to get Rocky and Joe some game time because it was far too early for either of them to start.

“Rocky only trained with us on Thursday and Joe only trained on Friday, but there’s now good competition for places.”

Grayson was particularly delighted to keep a clean sheet, marking an ideal start for loan man Alnwick.

The 26-year-old remained unflustered throughout and helped relieve pressure on his defence on a number of occasions by plucking high balls from the air.

“That’s why we brought him to the club, to bring competition for places,” the Pool boss said.

“Christoffer Mafoumbi has done nothing wrong over the time that I’ve been here, but you need that competition.

“We’ve got that now and you only have to look at the lads that were left out of the 18, a lot of them have been new signings or ones who have been here for a while.”

Potentially the most eye-catching performance of the day, in an attacking sense at least, came from exciting young forward Sullay Kaikai.

The 23-year-old caused havoc for the Bristol Rovers defence with his powerful, direct runs in behind.

Of his performance, Grayson joked: “He’ll be alright when he gets a little bit fitter and scores the odd goal or two, won’t he? But no, that’s what he’s capable of doing.

“I’ve liked Sullay going back to when I was managing at other clubs, I’ve looked at taking him but it’s not worked out.

“Maybe this is an opportunity for him and the penny has dropped for what he needs to do.

“I thought he worked tirelessly off the ball, just like Nathan Delfouneso as well. When he picks it up he’s got fantastic feet and ability.

“But like the rest of them, there’s still more to come from him.”

Husband’s day at left-wing back ended with five minutes remaining, but Grayson says there’s nothing to be too concerned about.

“It was just a bit of cramp,” the Pool boss said.

“He did well to get through to 80 odd minutes because he was playing in a wing-back role and I thought he might not be able to get that far.

“But I thought he showed some real good quality on the ball and he’s going to be one player that will only get better because of the limited gametime he’s had so far.”