Blackpool striker still has a big part to play at Bloomfield Road

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Gary Madine can look forward to his reunion with former club Sheffield United and forget about his recent injury woes.

 

The Blackpool striker briefly spent time on loan with the Blades in 2019, having previously made more than 100 appearances for their rivals Sheffield Wednesday.

The 31-year-old will inevitably be fired up for today’s visit to Bramall Lane, having scored his first goal in nine months during last week’s 2-0 derby win against Preston North End.

Madine has endured an injury-hit 2021, having been forced to undergo surgery on his groin to solve a niggling problem that plagued much of last season.

Gary Madine celebrates scoring against Preston North End last weekend

Gary Madine celebrates scoring against Preston North End last weekend

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However, he is on the mend and has made eight appearances already this season.

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley said: “It was such a frustrating time for Gary from January onwards.

“It was really stop-start and I know it weighed heavily on him mentally.

“He had a really good first half of the season for us and he was a big part of the team. He was enjoying his football.

“He’s a big influence in our squad and we missed him and his influence on the pitch, although he still had an influence off the pitch.

“Gary likes to feel part of things on the pitch and in the second half of the season, until right near the end when he pushed his body through to try and help us in the play-offs, he was struggling a little bit.

“I have to give credit to Stuart (Irwin) here, the physio, as well as the doctor.

“We felt the right solution was to have surgery in the summer, but even in pre-season, it was still niggling away at him and that was hard for him.

“I kept him here in the summer because of what he brought to us last season and what I knew he would bring to us this season.

“He missed the first few games of the season when his experience and presence would have helped us, but unfortunately that wasn’t to be.

“He’s shown his importance to us in the last few games, that’s for certain, and we’ll have to manage him throughout the course of the season but he’s a big player for us.”

Sheffield United currently sit 14th in the Championship, three points adrift of the Seasiders.

Slavisa Jokanovic’s side endured a difficult start to the campaign after relegation from the Premier League.