BARKHUIZEN’S FANS LEARN TO THE STAR AS LOVE AGAIN
Blueprint changes but Ince is on top
THEY SAY you never fall in love the same way twice and Blackpool fans are certainly falling for a very different approach under Paul Ince.
The Seasiders were famed for their free-flowing, gung-ho style under Ian Holloway during their brief stint in the Premier League, but a more pragmatic philosophy sees them top of the Championship this weekend.
After pulling away from a relegation scrap just in the nick of time last season, Ince has had the unenviable task of rebuilding a squad reduced to its bare bones following the departures of ten first team regulars, with Matt Phillips the latest of those to leave after joining QPR on Friday.
Such has been the lack of options at his disposal, 17-year-old centre-back Harrison McGahey was named among the substitutes, along with young striker Tom Barkhuizen, and it was the latter of those two who stole all the headlines.
The 20-year-old was thrown on with 25 minutes remaining against Reading and his late run and finish sealed a 1-0 win for Blackpool and left Ince beaming from ear to ear at the efforts of his under-strength side.
He said: “We lost Craig Cathcart, Steven Davies and Isaiah Osbourne to injury before the game and [Gary] Mackenzie during the game, but we didn’t let it bother us and we showed unbelievable character.
“Ideally, if I had a full strength squad Tom Barkhuizen might not have been on the bench.
“I told him to enjoy the moment and not to think about it too much.
“He’s been chomping at the bit and I thought he’d missed his chance to shoot but he took it so well.
“His composure was superb, he didn’t panic.”
Ricardo Fuller arrived at Bloomfield Road on a free transfer ten days ago and he made his pres- ence known in a lively showing.
The striker tested Alex McCarthy with a 25 yard effort early on and caused Reading centre-backs Alex Pearce and Sean Morrison no end of problems with his hold up play, as the home side enjoyed the better of the opening period.
That was aided by the presence of Fuller, the former Stoke strikerm, with Ince excited at the prospect of getting him fully fit.
He added:“I told Ricky, I’ll give you 55 minutes, just give me everything you’ve got and he was superb, he gave us something different.
“He’s a beast of a man, though he doesn’t look it. He’s strong, he’s got a funny running style, but he’s powerful and he can really beat players. He’s a great acquisition for us.
“I want to play good football but we haven’t been able to do that because we haven’t got the players.
“Hopefully we can change our style if we get the right personnel in.”
The visitors were slow out of the traps but rallied late in the opening period as Royston Drenthe tested Matt Gilks with a curling free-kick, before Jem Karacan struck the
three great chances and then we did the same in the second period.
“Royston was causing problems doing well and Le Fondre went close with a chance, but we didn’t take our chances.
“We made a mistake at the back for their goal and fair play to the Blackpool player for taking advantage of that but we’ve got to be doing better in that situation.
“We’ve come away from home and there are no easy games in this division and well done to Blackpool because they’ve got the three points.”
BITE AND BITE: Tom Barkhuizen scores his first goal for Blackpool