Sam Slocombe believes Blackpool’s willingness to go the extra mile in League Two last season was a major factor in their historic promotion.
The Seasiders overcame a host of injury problems in the final weeks of the campaign to clinch a record-breaking fifth play-off success, which came about thanks to their 2-1 win against Exeter City in the final at Wembley.
It was a case of the walking wounded during Pool’s highly dramatic 6-5 aggregate win against Luton Town in the semi-finals, which left a number of Gary Bowyer’s players nursing knocks during the showpiece final.
One of those was defender Tom Aldred, who bravely tried to play on through the pain barrier only to be brought off after just half an hour, when it was clear he couldn’t play on.
That was far from the first time a Blackpool player had attempted to play on when injured for the good of the team, which is something Slocombe believes played a key role in their success.
He said: “Tom has been fantastic all season and for him to play through that pain up to now and to get us to this point is top drawer.
“It’s not just him, though. There are three, four, five and maybe even six lads who have done that throughout the season.
“I can remember Jamille (Matt) doing it against Doncaster Rovers. We had made all three subs and he was injured but he stayed on, won us a penalty and we ended up winning the game to help us to get into this position.
“It’s the whole team and I think that’s the mood we’ve created in the dressing room – we’re prepared to do that for each other.”
Slocombe played a leading role in the Seasiders’ return to League One but his future at the club remains in doubt.
The 29-year-old, who made 46 appearances last season, was bizarrely included on the club’s list of players who were being released – only for Blackpool to then confirm they remain in discussions with the former Scunthorpe United goalkeeper.
This has prompted speculation that Slocombe could be used as a back-up keeper next season.
Youngster Myles Boney is the only keeper currently on the books after Dean Lyness was among the 10 players released.
It means Pool are in for a busy summer of player recruitment. When asked what the club’s aims should be for their return to League One, Slocombe said: “We just have to look at what we’ve just done.
“It’s been a fantastic achievement over 49 games, so we don’t really look that much further as players, although I’m sure the staff and those higher up are thinking about that.
“As players, we’re just going to enjoy our success and I think we’re allowed that.”