Sport Soccer

Saturday 22 July 2017

Coleman chasing Tangerine dream

Jamie Holland

SEAMUS COLEMAN spent last weekend at home in Killybegs before returning to Blackpool ahead of a week that will conclude with him playing against Cardiff City in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

Since joining Blackpool on loan from Everton in March, Coleman has played his part in a romantic journey for Ian Holloway's side that saw them win six, draw two and lose only one in their last nine league games to earn a two-legged play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

A 2-1 home victory gave Blackpool hope for the trip to the City Ground last Tuesday. Forest had been defeated only once at home all season, ironically by Blackpool last September, and had gone over eight games without so much as a concession of a goal on home turf. Blackpool won an epic encounter 4-3.

"Ian Holloway likes us to play attacking football and to express ourselves," said Coleman. "Forest had an excellent home record, but a lot of teams went to the City Ground this season and tried to contain them. We just took the game to them from the first whistle and anyone who has watched us recently would've seen that we play good football.

"Ian is a character that makes you laugh all the time, but for every bit he's funny he is also very serious. When he gets down to work, we're always really well prepared having studied the videos of every game. He's addicted to football."

After an innocuous toe injury last summer, when Coleman burst a blister that led to an infection and almost an amputation, the high point of his season to date was the man-of-the-match performance on his home debut for Everton against Tottenham in December. "The Spurs game was a great occasion for me and I'll not forget it, but I'm not going to live off that," Coleman added.

"My long-term ambition is to establish myself in the Everton first team and I'm happy to have broken in during my first season, especially as I suffered a strange injury last summer in pre-season.

"David Moyes told me that there were loan offers but he left the decision up to me. The few games for the Everton first team whetted my appetite, so I jumped at the chance.

"Don't get me wrong, it was great to even be on the bench for Everton, but getting experience was important to me. All I ever want to do is play. Every single game you play in, you learn from.

"Queen's Park Rangers were one of the clubs interested, but they had too many loanees and were going to get rid of one or two, but Blackpool interested me. I had settled in Liverpool and didn't really fancy going down to London.

"When I looked at the league table and saw Blackpool weren't far off the play-offs, I knew every point mattered. I wanted to play for a team that had something to play for instead of going to a mid-table side that would merely be playing out the season. I'm so glad I went to Blackpool."

Cheered

Coleman will be cheered on at Wembley by a sizable contingent from his home town in south-west Donegal, all of whom will be draped in Tangerine. The 21-year-old was part of the official Everton party at last season's FA Cup final at Wembley and will play there for the first time this Saturday.

"Cardiff are probably favourites, but we'll be well drilled and well prepared. There will be huge buzz in the town all week and hopefully we can finish the job off. Blackpool have a famous history and you see the pictures and statues of Stanley Matthews and the likes of that, so hopefully we can add something to that."

Irish Independent

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