The Long and the short of striker’s Blackpool move

Blackpool boss Terry McPhillips has high hopes for new signing Chris Long
Blackpool boss Terry McPhillips has high hopes for new signing Chris Long
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Terry McPhillips says Chris Long ignored more financially rewarding offers to come and get regular game time at Blackpool.

Prior to having his contract cancelled, the striker had made just 13 appearances for Fleetwood Town during the course of this season.

Having been frozen out at Highbury, McPhillips says he was more than willing to give Long an opportunity to shine at Bloomfield Road.

He said: “Chris hasn’t been playing at Fleetwood and we know him having worked with him at Everton.

“He’s a talented player and he’s desperate to play.

“I spoke to him and he’s just desperate to play. It’s not about money, it’s about opportunity and we could give him that.

“We are strikers down at the moment so we are looking for quality strikers on not a great budget.

“I think we’ve found one and it will be a good opportunity to put himself in the shop window. I’m looking forward to watching him play.

“He knows me, I know him. I don’t think he wants to travel, he doesn’t want to move to Scotland where he could have got a lucrative contract. He turned down other places to come to us, so fair play to him.

“He gave me a great impression that he wanted to come and play for Blackpool, simple as that.

“He could have got more money to go elsewhere.

“I know his talent, he’s got great talent, now he’ll get the opportunity so it’s down to him to show it. He’s fit and he’s available.”

The man Long will have to get past to start up front for Blackpool is top scorer Armand Gnanduillet.

While Pool have never lost when the nine-goal striker has found the back of the net this season, the 26-year-old has gone five games without a goal.

“We could do with Armand scoring then, couldn’t we?” McPhillips added.

“He hasn’t scored of late, but I think he’s still doing well. But we have relied on him because he’s a big, physical presence for us.

“He has got better at holding it up and setting people up and for the first half of the season this will be his best tally.

“He’s been a massive player for us and with Mark Cullen out, Joe Dodoo and Max Clayton too, hopefully Longy can take some of that pressure off him but it’s not just the strikers who need to score.

“I’m wanting the midfielders and defenders to start chipping in.”

Blackpool’s defeat in the FA Cup against Arsenal last week means McPhillips’ men have now gone seven games without a win, but the Pool boss is remaining positive.

He said: “You look forward in football, the Arsenal game has gone now hasn’t it?

“It was great for us to play Arsenal home and away but it’s gone now and now we concentrate on the league.

“Now we need a win quickly to get ourselves back on track.”