New Coach Excited By Challenge
Blackpool's new First Team Coach Ashley Westwood is looking forward to getting out on the training pitch and working with what he believes to be a very talented set of players.
The 36-year-old has been brought to Bloomfield Road by Michael Appleton after linking up with the new manager as part of the Portsmouth coaching staff in the summer.
The pair have known each other since they both started out as part of the youth set-up at Manchester United.
"I've known him (Michael Appleton) since I was about ten years of age when we were in the under 11s at Man United and we were obviously in the same age group, right the way through school and apprenticeships.
"We did a year professionally there and then I left to go to Crewe and we've been in touch ever since. We've always monitored each others career and he's been a friend."
More recently Westwood has been doing his coaching badges and has gained some valuable experience lower down the football pyramid working as a coach and player coach.
"Towards the end of last season I was Player-Manager at Kettering and obviously they had their troubles and I opted to go to Lincoln as a Player-Coach.
"I was only there for two days. I did a day of pre-season and then the next day I got the call off Michael to go and join him at Portsmouth."
Westwood admitted that life at Portsmouth sometimes wasn't easy, with their off-field problems often hugging the limelight and players' future never secure.
But the 36-year-old has no regrets and knew as a player that coaching was the ideal route to take once his playing days were over.
"I've been doing my badges for the last four or five years. After spending 20 years in football and playing full-time you wouldn't really want to go into any other career and once you've got that experience you want to put it to good use."
The Seasiders' new coach now can't wait to get going and sees the match with Bolton at home on Saturday as a great game to head into.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge and the ambition to get back in that Premier League mix. If you don't want to work in a mix like that you're involved in the wrong game. The chance to get to the big stage is what everyone will be pushing towards," said Westwood.
"What a better place to start really, in a derby and against a club like Bolton who are one of the sides who you'd think will be challenging come the end of the season. It's a great occasion to go and test yourselves against one of the best sides in the league."