Former City defender set for another Championship chance

Blackpool's Kenneth Dougall (second right) celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game i

James Husband joins the Blackpool celebrations after Kenneth Dougall had fired the Tangerines ahead against Lincoln at Welmbley - Credit: PA

His Championship spell with Norwich City may not have gone to plan but James Husband looks set for another second-tier opportunity after play-off success with Blackpool.

The defender initially joined the Tangerines on loan and made that move permanent in January 2020 after featuring regularly for them in League One.

The 27-year-old has remained a regular for much of this season, playing at centre-back as well as his more familiar left-back position, with 36 appearances in all competitions.

Former Liverpool coach Neil Critchley led his team to a late-season charge to third place and the play-offs, with Husband playing every minute of the play-offs as a central defender.

After winning 6-3 on aggregate against Oxford in the semi-finals, the Tangerines beat Lincoln City 2-1 at Wembley in the final on Sunday to end six seasons below the Championship - with the club's controversial previous owners bought out by wealthy local businessman Simon Sadler in 2019. 

Having also spent much of 2018-19 on loan in League One at Fleetwood, the victory takes Husband back to the second tier, where he has previously played with Doncaster, Middlesbrough and loan clubs Fulham and Huddersfield.

He joined Blackpool as he entered the final six months of his Canaries deal and is technically out of contract this summer but with his club having the option to extend his deal for a further year.

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Speaking recently, Husband said he was hopeful that his situation would be resolved once the play-offs were concluded, saying how much he had enjoyed his 18 months at Bloomfield Road.

“I’ve loved my time here. I’ve grown as a player and a person,” he told the Blackpool Gazette.

“I’ve been lucky enough that the staff have allowed me to take more of a leadership role this season and I’ve enjoyed it."

Blackpool's James Husband (left) and Lincoln City's Tom Hopper battle for the ball during the Sky Be

James Husband in League One play-off final action for Blackpool - Credit: PA

City signed Husband from Boro in 2017 for a reported initial £500,000 that could have risen to £1million, as one of the first signings since the arrival of sporting director Stuart Webber and head coach Daniel Farke.

However, he struggled to convince during 21 appearances, with midfielder Marco Stiepermann chosen ahead of him at times during 2017-18, before academy product Jamal Lewis emerged as first choice at left-back midway through that campaign. 

Also starting Sunday's final at Wembley was midfielder Conor McGrandles. The former Norwich academy prospect played the full 90 minutes as Lincoln were beaten 2-1, with the Scottish 25-year-old scoring five goals in 50 games for the Imps after joining following a free transfer from MK Dons last summer.

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