Richard Keogh is delighted with the centre-back partnership he’s struck up with Marvin Ekpiteta for Blackpool.
While 35-year-old Keogh is coming to the end of his career, Ekpiteta’s is only just getting under way and this is his first season as a Championship player.
The 26-year-old, who was playing in non-league two years ago, has made a seamless step-up from League One.
Richard Keogh has become a pillar of the Blackpool defence
“I really like Marv,” Keogh told The Gazette. “We’ve struck up a nice partnership. I feel I’m helping him but he’s also helping me.
“When you play at centre-half together, it’s about that combination. We complement each other quite well. We’re always together, we’re always learning and trying to get better, and I think Marvin’s game has really improved a lot with each game and each year.
“He’s a great guy, who really wants to learn and get better. These are fantastic traits to have in any player.”
Keogh made a bit of a shaky start to his Blackpool career, having joined on a free transfer quite late in pre-season.
But he’s become rock-solid, also striking up a close bond with the fans.
Keogh knows exactly what it takes to be a success in the Championship, having made over 400 appearances at this level.
His best years arguably came at Derby County, twice going close to promotion to the Premier League, and Keogh has been impressed by the Seasiders on their return to the Championship after a six-year absence.
“Being part of the group has been great and really good for me,” he added. “I think I’ve had a positive impact on the group as well.
“Everyone can see the transition of the club. A few years ago, under the previous owners, the club wasn’t in a good position.
“I remember playing against Blackpool when it was like that and compared to now it’s chalk and cheese.
“That’s credit to the new owner, to the manager and this group of players as well as the fans because everyone is really buying into it.”