Waddington could line up against Blackpool

Mark Waddington
Mark Waddington
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Mark Waddington could be set to play against Blackpool next season should his anticipated move to Stoke come off.

The Gazette revealed last month that Academy player of the season Waddington and fellow Pool youth product Dom Telford were set to join the Premier League side after failing to agree professional contracts at Bloomfield Road.

But The Gazette understands the Potters would probably send teenage midfielder Waddington out on loan to a League One club to gain vital experience in a competitive setting.

The Britannia Stadium club would want the 18-year-old to enjoy regular first-team football, meaning Pool’s Fylde coast rivals Fleetwood Town could be in the frame to sign him.

Although the offers now on the table at Bloomfield Road for Waddington and Telford are understood to be significantly better than those originally made, both could complete moves to Stoke in the coming weeks.

And Pool would be entitled to compensation fees of at least £100,000 for each player as they are under-23.

Both broke into the first-team squad last Christmas but had to endure a spell out in the cold after rejecting contract offers.

Imposing midfielder Waddington, who was Pool’s man of the match in the FA Cup defeat at Aston Villa, made six senior appearances but his season was cut short by a foot injury in February.

Keeping hold of Waddington, also linked with Brighton, and Telford is one of the tasks facing new Pool boss Neil McDonald.

The promotion of their youth-team manager Richie Kyle to first-team coach could help, as could the resolve of McDonald to bring quality players into the Bloomfield Road squad.

He made clear that player recruitment is the absolute priority, with pre-season training due to being three weeks today.

McDonald said: “I’m up for the challenge to try to make the team competitive and make sure we bring good players into the football club.

“If I do get the players I want to excite the fans, the only way is up.

“It’s just really important we recruit as many (players) as we can, with the quality we need, as quickly as we can.

“That will give people a new focus and can galvanise people together.”