Since breaking into the Blackpool side at the end of October, Kenny Dougall has become a clear fan favourite at Bloomfield Road. He notched his first goal recently at Oxford, so how about a call-up for his national team? The bleach blond Australian surely can’t be far off a call up given his performances this season and hopefully if he can stay fit for an extended period, he will surely fight his way into contention.
Dougall played for Australia’s u23 squad – the Olyroos – back in 2015 and now at the age of 27, is hopeful he can make the step up into the senior squad. Their 2022 World Cup Qualifying Campaign starts in June – something Dougall will surely have more than an eye on given his form with the Seasiders.
In an interview with The World Game, he spoke of his hope to break into the side.
He said: “Definitely. I’m getting older now but it’s still a dream of mine and it hasn’t changed… I definitely do want to keep pushing for it and if those March games come, if they do come, I’ll be ready waiting for the call.
“(Manager Graham) Arnold’s said from day one he wants players who are match-fit and playing, so if I can keep playing and playing well then I’ll be in with a shout.”
Regaining form and fitness
King Kenny was struck down with COVID in January and had a spell on the sidelines, but has since managed to find his fitness and form.
“I’m fine. Obviously not everyone is affected the same.”
Dealing with COVID is a lot easier than his injury-plagued season with Barnsley where he recovered from a broken leg – then it was made worse as he was out of favour with former manager Gerhard Struber. He looks back with a little disappointment in how his time at Oakwell finished.
“The ending was a bit disappointing… I was sort of forced out by Struber, who’s gone now… It was just one of those bad vibe things, after the broken leg and the manager lost his job and a new manager comes in… it’s maybe bad timing in that sense.
“But a little disappointing as I didn’t really get a chance after my injury to sort of get a lot of games. But you can’t do much about things like that… It is disappointing that I never got to say goodbye to the Barnsley fans. It was a bittersweet ending but that’s just life. I’m happy to kick on again.”
After training on his own in the summer and holding out for a Championship move, he opted to join the Seasiders on the eve of the closing of the summer transfer window in October.
“Obviously the start of the season was a bit up in the air for me, I didn’t sign until late in October. I wanted to keep playing in the Championship but because of everything that happened in the summer and with the virus it didn’t happen. I’ve joined Blackpool in League One, and to be honest it’s been great. I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Dougall has played regularly in Neil Critchley’s side this season, making 26 appearances and being a pretty much ever-present since his debut at Burton. Since then, no side in the league has gained more league points – as shown by our Instagram post below.
“At the back of last season I wasn’t playing a lot but now I’m happy to be playing again. The gaffer has brought me in and really liked what I’ve done with the team.
“When I came in the results changed immediately, we started to climb the table. I’ve enjoyed being here and the team’s a lot better than what we’ve showed this season. Hopefully we can push on for those playoff spots.
“Playoffs is definitely a target. The squad itself, before I joined, they struggled at the start of the season results-wise. There is a lot of quality in the squad.
“We beat all of the top teams, so there’s definitely confidence in the squad that we can get promoted and that is the goal. We are playing catch-up so we just have to keep winning and sneak into the top six, and once we get into that six we’ll back ourselves to go all the way and get promoted.”
In King Kenny, we have one of the best midfielders in the division. He’s clearly a man who is capable of playing higher and would be able to step up to the Championship if we were able to get there next season. He enters the final year of his contract next year, so it’s important that we show the progression in that time to be able to keep him. Hopefully he can keep his form and fitness and get the reward of a senior call-up for the Socceroos in the summer.
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Image: Blackpool FC Twitter