by Joshua Richards
BLACKPOOL supporters will be glad to see the back of 2015, but defender Tom Aldred insists they are far from a club in crisis.
The 25-year-old moved to Bloomfield Road from Accrington Stanley in January 2015 but didn’t taste victory in a Tangerine shirt for the remainder of the campaign as the club were unceremoniously relegated, finishing 20 points short of safety without a win on the road.
That’s nothing compared to what happened off the pitch, with the fans at war with the owners and mass protests were staged before, after and even during matches.
But the arrival of Neil McDonald at the helm and an overhaul of the playing staff has Aldred upbeat about the club’s future – music to the ears of their long-suffering following.
“I’ve been here a year and I’m one of the longest serving players,” he said.
“The side has been rebuilt, we have completely new staff and among us we have a strong mentality.
“We’re in transition and to some people on the outside it might look like we’re in crisis but we aren’t at all. I actually think we’re getting stronger game by game.”
Aldred admits it took him a while to settle in.
“I got injured after a few games, so I was recovering from that injury during the settling in period,” he said.
“I’d gone from playing 92 games in a row for Accrington to that and I didn’t realise how difficult it would be. My target after that was to play as much as possible and I’m enjoying my football at the moment.”
Aldred did at last experience that winning feeling for Blackpool in September and scored his first goal a couple of weeks ago to earn the Seasiders a fine 1-0 win at Wigan.
A highly-impressive 2-0 home win against free-scoring Peterborough last weekend made it three successive victories and suggests McDonald’s men are heading in the right direction.
“When we were getting beaten it was only fine lines, we weren’t being hammered,” he added. “The performance levels were still good so we knew it could turn.
“I think the difference has been that we are now prepared to do the nasty side of the game. It was something we spoke about.
“We’re making ourselves difficult to beat, we’re aggressive when we need to be strong at set-pieces. You need to be ruthless in both boxes.
“Scoring is definitely something I was looking to do and it is nice to now have that monkey off my back. We know as a squad we don’t score enough goals and it’s up to us all to chip in, it’s not just the responsibility of the forwards.
“We’re all in this together and we know we have been hit and miss this season.
“We have won a few lately, but our feet are firmly on the ground, because we know how quickly things can change.”
*This article was originally published in The FLP on 27 December 2015.