What we can expect from Blackpool’s first pre-season friendly at Southport

Fifty-seven days on from the 5-0 drubbing at Peterborough United on the final day of last season, Blackpool begin their preparations for the new campaign.

Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 12:27 pm

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Only this time, they will have a new man at the helm as Michael Appleton returns to Bloomfield Road for a second spell following Neil Critchley’s surprise decision to become Steven Gerrard’s assistant at Aston Villa.

Appleton will take charge of his first friendly this weekend when the Seasiders make the trip to Merseyside to take on non-league outfit Southport.

Liam Watson’s side, who are assisted by former Pool boss Terry McPhillips, finished 11th in the National League North last season.

This will be the third summer running Pool face the Sangrounders as part of their summer preparations.

The previous summer, Grant Ward, Sullay Kaikai, Keshi Anderson and Jerry Yates got on the scoresheet during a 4-0 win.

This will be the third consecutive season the Seasiders have faced Southport in pre-season

On this occasion, the friendly has been arranged as part of the deal that took Doug Tharme to Bloomfield Road in January.

The defender made the move to Bloomfield Road for an undisclosed fee, only to be loaned back to the Sandgrounders for the remainder of the season.

Tharme will now be looking to make his Pool debut against his former side at 3pm on Saturday.

Other than youngsters, it’s unlikely there will be any other debutants this weekend as the Seasiders are yet to do any transfer business - in or out.

Blackpool already have a squad of 25 ‘senior’ players though, so there’s no need to panic with plenty of time remaining (65 days) before the window closes.

As is usually customary in the opening friendly of the summer, Blackpool are likely to field two different XI’s in either half.

Jordan Gabriel and James Husband (both hamstring) will miss out, while it will be interesting to see if Kevin Stewart features as he’s not been spotted in any of the club’s pre-season videos.

Kenny Dougall, CJ Hamilton and Shayne Lavery have now returned to training this week having missed the opening five days - after being granted an extra week of rest following their international exploits.

Following on from the game against Southport, Appleton’s men will face Leeds United at York City’s ground the following Thursday.

The Seasiders then depart for a pre-season training camp in Scotland on Sunday, July 10, before returning to face Rangers at Bloomfield Road on Saturday, July 16.

Pool are also due to face League Two side Salford City at the Peninsula Stadium on Tuesday, July 19.

As yet, no friendly has been scheduled in for Saturday, July 23, the final free weekend before the league begins on Saturday, July 30.

Tickets for Saturday’s game are currently on sale via Southport’s website, priced at £10 for adults.