Jim McAlister is hoping to make his first-team comeback in Blackpool’s Checkatrade Trophy Round Three tie at Shrewsbury Town on Wednesday.
The midfielder, who has been out of action since fracturing his tibia 11 months ago, has trained regularly for several weeks now and has overcome the initial hurdles.
“Everybody mentions that first tackle, but the boys were good with me. In that first week or so, when I was back in, you could see them standing back a bit to allow me to find my feet. Once they’ve started to see me going in and tackling them, they’ve kind of stepped it up on me, which is exactly what I need,” McAlister said.
“I don’t want the boys to pull out of tackles because it is a hurdle that I need to get over. I feel as if I’m over most of the hurdles now and I’m just getting ready for the games,” he admitted.
Warm applause greeted the news of McAlister’s name on the team sheet for the previous Checkatrade Trophy game last month, when manager Gary Bowyer opted to name the midfielder on the bench. Though unused, his inclusion proved to be a valuable boost in terms of restoring that match preparation mindset.
“It was brilliant from the gaffer, to be fair. You think you’re getting close, then setbacks happen. Just for my head more than anything, the gaffer wanted me to get out in the warm up and on the bench,” he explained.
“It was great man management from him. The boys then got us through to the next round, which will give me the chance to get some game time, hopefully. We said a while back that we’ll look to the Checkatrade to try and get some minutes.”