LEEDS UNITED transfer target Keith Southern is set to stay at relegated Blackpool.
Seasiders boss Ian Holloway, busy picking up the pieces following the club’s demotion back to the Championship after a season in the top-flight, has earmarked the Geordie to play a full part in his plans for next term – when he will be aiming to return to the Premiership at the first time of asking.
With the likes of talisman midfielder Charlie Adam expected to move on and others such as keeper Matt Gilks, ex-United full-back Stephen Crainey, Welsh midfielder David Vaughan and forward DJ Campbell tipped to head for pastures new as well, Holloway is keen to ensure his 2010-11 squad isn’t totally decimated.
For that reason he is unwilling to let Southern go, with the holding midfielder – a potential like-for-like replacement for the outgoing Bradley Johnson – expected to be in Pool’s first team next season.
Largely out of favour in the first half of 2010-11, Southern was close to joining United in the January transfer window.
But the move fell through at the 11th hour, although Whites manager Simon Grayson, his former boss at Bloomfield Road, has kept his eye on developments.
Southern subsequently managed to force his way back into Pool’s first team and nail down a place, playing the club’s last five games and impressing in a defensive-midfield role.
Holloway even went on record to say he had made a mistake in leaving the 30-year-old out for large spells last season.
With a new 12-month contract activated at the end of the campaign, Southern is expected to stay put with any renewed interest from Leeds to be rebuffed.