Terry McPhillips hails TV star Rachel Riley in Blackpool's Countdown to the Emirates

Terry McPhillips
Terry McPhillips

Terry McPhillips has thanked Countdown star Rachel Riley for giving his Blackpool side a dream Carabao Cup draw against Premier League giants Arsenal.

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Riley and former England star Rachel Yankey conducted the draw for the fourth round of the competition last Saturday night.

Many Blackpool players and staff had just got off the team coach after travelling back from Peterborough, where they drew 2-2, when they heard the news.

When asked about the draw, McPhillips said: “It’s a big fat carrot, isn’t it? There’s no two ways about it.

“Most of us had got off the bus round Manchester, where we had parked our cars, and some were still in the bus when Rachel pulled number three out.

“She was one of my favourites anyway but now she’s top of the list, so thanks very much for that, Rachel!

“My car had a couple of staff in it and my car went up when the draw came out.

“I’m absolutely delighted with the draw and it’s a hell of a game to look forward to.”

The trip to the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, October 31 is a reward for Blackpool’s impressive run to the fourth round, which has seen them eliminated Barnsley, Doncaster Rovers and QPR.

They’ve had to do it without club captain Jimmy Ryan, who has been missing all season with a knee injury.

McPhillips has revealed Ryan underwent successful surgery last Saturday, an operation that is expected to keep him out of action for a matter of months.

It also meant the 30-year-old was missing from Blackpool’s squad photo yesterday. “It’s been a success,” McPhillips said of Ryan’s operation.

“I think he’s in a full leg brace now for a couple of weeks at least.

“He missed the photoshoot we had on the pitch, so we wish him well.

“Obviously we’re disappointed but he’s the club captain. We’ve missed him as a unit and his banter around the place.

“We wish him all the best to get fit as soon as possible.”

The Seasiders continue to run the rule over triallist Steve Davies, who McPhillips has revealed could get a runout in Blackpool’s Checkatrade Trophy game against West Brom U21s next Tuesday.

The striker has been training with the club since the start of September and played 90 minutes in the 2-1 Lancashire Senior Cup win at Wigan Athletic on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old, who played for Blackpool from 2013 to 2015, was released by Rochdale at the end of last season.

“In training he’s been superb,” McPhillips said. “In the game the other day he was just as good or just as bad as anybody else. None of them did enough.

“He’s still training with the team and he might be involved in the game on Tuesday night, then we’ll take it from there.”