Defender Ready For Pre-Season Return
Alex Baptiste says he’s finally ready to focus on football again as the players prepare to return for pre-season training on Monday.
The defender found play-off final defeat back in May hard to shake off, yet a break away from the game has put him back in the right frame of mind going forward.
“I wasn’t initially looking forward to coming back for pre-season because everybody was that low after the final,” he admitted. “I’ve had a few holidays to get completely away from football but it’s time to get over it now and move on.
“It will be great to see the boys again because we’ve kept everyone from last season. It’s time to get back out there and start again.”
The release of the 2012-13 fixtures last month was when the realisation of Wembley really hit home for the 26-year-old, although he’s now determined to secure another promotion with The Seasiders.
“It was a case of what could have been when you saw West Ham’s fixtures but I’ve finally got over that now and I’m ready to go again. Hopefully we can go one step further this season. I don’t want to go through that pain again so I’m sure that will drive me on.”
Pre-season training is something that no player ever looks forward to but Baptiste expects the lads to be back in shape in a matter of time.
“I don’t mind the games and it’ll be good to touch a ball again – I’ve not kicked one since the final – but I’m not looking forward to all the running. We haven’t had as much time off as some teams though so I should imagine we’ll get back into the swing of things quite quickly.”
One expect of pre-season he is looking forward to is Keith Southern’s testimonial game against Everton, with Blackpool’s reigning Player of the Year full of admiration for his team-mate.
“Keith deserves all the praise he gets,” he said. “The way he came back last season speaks volumes for the character he is. He’ll always get his head down and get on with it and he’s a great person to know. I’m delighted that he’s having this game and hopefully everyone will show their support,” he added.