Derek Spence, James Quinn, Craig Cathcart, Daniel Ballard, Shayne Lavery. We have a good history of Northern Irish players and that trend looks set to continue as the 22-year-old striker joins from Linfield in his home country after a prolific two-year spell since leaving Everton.
It was a case of three is the magic number for Blackpool as we announced our third signing of the day – the same day season tickets were announced – sending the tangerine army into a frenzy. We’re just not used to striking so early, especially given our play-off campaign only ended nine days ago, and these early signings are another testament to how well our club is run off-the-field right now.
Lavery has signed on a two-year deal with an optional third, meaning he’s essentially locked down until 2024.
Prononced “Lavvery” not “Layvery” according to a Northern Irish commentator on the BBC, Shayne has been simply unable to stop scoring for Linfield under the stewardship of David Healy – Northern Ireland’s greatest ever striker.
Having been at Everton at youth level, where Neil Critchley will no doubt have become aware of him, he spent time on loan at Falkirk in 2018-19 but failed to score in six games, but since then he seems to have come of age and really found confidence.
47 goals in 77 starts for Linfield have meant he’s become something of a hot prospect over in his home country, destined for a move to England and it’s the Seasiders who have managed to land him.
Given Lavery’s exceptional goalscoring record, it’s particularly encouraging to see how highly Lavery rates for non-penalty goals. He also has significant scores for touches in the opposition box, progressive runs and xG / xA which implies that he hassles opposition defenders and is clinical on the counter with his pace and directness.
He’s similar to the mould of Jerry Yates where his tireless energy will create chances by closing down defenders – and he also has a good finish on him. Standing at 5ft 11in, he’s not going to win many headers but is more likely to close down defenders and act as a foil – it will be interesting to see how Critchley utilises both him and Yates, and whether it will be more a case of protecting Jerry in certain games rather than relying on him every week like we did this year. Competition for places is always good, of course.
Above – Lavery scores Linfield’s goal of the season against Qarabag in the Europa League.
As mentioned he has hit some impressive numbers, but how does he get his goals? The goal of the month was similar to Jerry solo effort and it looks like he will suit Blackpool’s counter attacking play.
From 23 matches he has managed an impressive 23 goals in the Danske Bank Premiership. These consist of just three penalties, six headers and two tap-ins. He also managed eight match-winning goals. It’s clear to see that he is capable of all different types of goals – remind you of anyone?
Gab Sutton pulled together a comprehensive view on Lavery’s attributes and fans’ opinions which is certainly worth a read below.
The key to the success of this signing will of course be whether he can cut it in the Championship – it will be a big step up for him coming from Northern Ireland so it’s important that he hits the ground running with an early goal. It feels like once he gets one goal, his belief will grow and he’ll go on to score plenty. And if he can do that in the second tier, just imagine how much he could be worth in a couple of seasons!
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