Lee Clark has backed Tom Barkhuizen to kick-start his career - as a right-back.
The 21-year-old is closing in on 100 league appearances since making his senior debut in 2010, but is yet to nail down a place or position at Pool or clubs he has featured for on loan.
After spending most of his career as an attacking player, Clark has opted to use Barkhuizen as a right-back in the club’s last three league games.
And the Blackpool boss feels he may finally have found a home for the youngster.
“People keep telling me Tom is a striker but even when I went to watch him against Morecambe he didn’t play in attack,” explained Clark.
“I think he’s more used to playing on the right hand side now.
“With his pace and determination, he could make a decent career being a right-back.
“When I’ve seen him on the training ground I see him as someone who has the attributes to play as a defender.
“He needs to nail down one position so we’ll see what the future brings.”
Blackpool-born Barkhuizen spent the early part of the season on loan at Morecambe after being frozen out by previous boss Jose Riga.
But after being watched by new boss Clark he was recalled to Bloomfield Road, but only now is he getting a regular chance.
Clark added: “I have to say in the games Tom has played he’s done well.
“I thought he was one of the real positives at Derby when he came on.
“When you have the sort of pace Tom has got you don’t have that fear that people will be able to run in behind you, so you can get tight with players.
“I think he’s learnt that and taken it on board.
“He is out of contract this summer and he’ll find out my plans for him after the season finishes.”
Despite forcing himself into the side, Barkhuizen could miss Saturday’s trip to Cardiff after a heavy challenge in the first half of last weekend’s game against Fulham.
“Tom is really struggling after that, he took another whack in the second half too,” said Clark.
“His shin pad was broken so luckily that’s done its job. He’ll be sore for the next couple of days as it was a nasty knock.
“It’s a shame as I thought he’d been doing really well.”