Michael Appleton on the return of key Blackpool defenders in Barrow cup exit

android, michael appleton on the return of key blackpool defenders in barrow cup exit

James Husband played the last 30 minutes against Barrow

Blackpool boss Michael Appleton was delighted to see Jordan Gabriel and James Husband return to action.

The Seasiders pair both came on midway through the second half of the shock Carabao Cup defeat to Barrow, playing at right back and left back respectively. Blackpool haven’t had a recognised senior right back in the side in the opening two Championship games with Callum Connolly filling the void, but Gabriel looked like he had never been away – seeing Connolly switch to midfield on his arrival.

Likewise on the other flank James Husband imposed himself and added some much needed competition for Dominic Thompson who has had free reign in the role since his permanent arrival from Brentford. With a number of key positions still to be strengthened heading into the final weeks of the window, having strength in depth in defence will be paramount to Appleton’s side finding some form after two consecutive defeats and disappointing displays.

“That was really pleasing to see those two play and they looked full of life as well which was good. They looked fit, they looked strong and clearly they’re not in a physical state to do more than an hour at the minute, the instructions from the medical team was to try and not give them more than 30 minutes so that’s what we did,” Appleton said.

“It was great to see we were able to do that knowing that we could slide Callum (Connolly) inside, you’ve seen what Kenny (Dougall) has been able to do for us the past couple of games in terms of giving us that pivot and security so those two full backs coming in gives us options.”

The pair could do little do stop Blackpool suffering a deserved penalty shootout defeat in the end to Barrow after a generally passive display saw the Seasiders exit at the first round stage, following on from an abject performance at Stoke City at the weekend.

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