The New Signings - Part 1
I shall start in goal. Rhys Evans.Before - 9 Out Of 10.
After Nine Games - 7 Out Of 10.
Rhys came with pedigree. He has been a fantastic stopper in League One (and formally Division Two) for a number of years now with Swindon. He signed at The County Ground in 2003 on a free from Chelsea and played over a hundred times for The Robins, picking up The Fans Player of The Year Award last season, despite his home town club being relegated. Evans was partly persuaded to join The Seasiders by best friend, Peter Clarke (who has now jacked off!!). Clarke and Evans played together from schoolboy England right through to the Under 21`s, where Evans even rejected the chance to play for his country as was his desire to do some hard graft at his club then, Swindon.
Since signing for Simon Grayson`s men, Rhys has been made somewhat of a scapegoat for silly goals being let in. He looked very handy against Brentford until his mistake cost the team a point - and that was his only major mishap up to know. It was unfortunate for Evans that he did make that mistake on his debut, as many fans looked for an easy target to aim their frustration at. However, the goalkeeper has made several quality saves that has kept us in certain games, and deserves a chance. His kicking isn`t the greatest, and he doesn`t have the loudest voice - but he will be an asset to Blackpool FC in the future. That much I`m sure.
Moving onto Left Back. Paul Tierney.Before - 7 Out Of 10.
After Nine Games - 5 Out Of 10.
Paul is the only signing I hadn`t heard of prior his arrival at Bloomers. He started his career at Manure and like so many other decent players, was shipped out on loan to a number of clubs, and then finally released after a handful of games at Premiership level - the latest "victim" (if you will) seems to be fullback Paul Bardsley who filled in amicably for Gary Neville last term. In this case, Manure were correct to let go. They did do to SPL side, Livinston, and Tierney lasted just a season north of the border.
In the games he has played, he`s looked average when a tackle needs to be made and woeful when he needs to cover his position. Pacey wingers have shown him up - especially at Ashton Gate against Brizzle City. One huge problem for the management is that Tierney has been left very exposed at times, as either Wes Hoolahan or Rory Rent-A-Ghost have been playing left wing, and neither provide great defensive cover. The jury is still very much out on Paul Tierney.
Centre Half - Shaun BarkerBefore - 9 Out Of 10.
After Nine Games - 8 Out Of 10.
I think everyone knew about this lad, and it was common knowledge that Pool had been chasing him a long while. I was extremely impressed when we did sign him, as he is a ready made replacement for Peter Clarke. The management have since tried their up most to prove me wrong. He was switched to Right Back, when he is one of the best centre halves in the division.
Barker joined from Rotherham on a free - although a fee was probably paid.
He isn`t a right back. He is also our best centre back. So why, why, why do we not play him in his best position?
Centre Half - Michael JacksonBefore - 5 Out Of 10.
After Nine Games - 6 Out Of 10.
When I heard of this signing, my reply had expletives in it!! Former Preston (no, that isn`t the reason!!), Tranmere (nor that!), Bury and Crewe, Jackson has travelled in and around the north west all his career and he hasn`t broken that tradition. He is 33 now, and despite all his know-how, he has failed to convince me that he should start. Gets caught ball watching frequently, and his distribution is woeful (much like the previous skipper!!). He is, however, a leader. That I cannot argue with. He has also expressed a desire to coach whilst here, and has already assisted the reserve team. His presence does add something, but I`m left wondering whether another better defender should lose his place because of presence and not ability?
Centre Half - Ian EvattBefore - 9 Out Of 10.
After Nine Games - 7 Out Of 10.
This was a WOW signing, albeit on loan. Evatt graced this division with Cheaterfield, being their stand out player for the couple of years he was there. He subsequently moved on to QPR for 150K before moving to Bloomers on loan for six months. He is a powerful and convincing defender who bosses strikers about. He has not played his best football by a long stretch so far here, but with plenty of room for improvement, I`m sure he will be a big hit. He would be an even bigger hit if he was partnered with Shaun Barker on a regular basis. They didn`t play well together away at Port Vale, but with games comes understanding and they will be the best central defensive pairing in the division before too long.
If Blackpool had any selection problems in midfield, Evatt is also capable filling in as a holding midfielder.