As assists go, this was not one out of the Kevin de Bruyne catalogue.

As ten-man Blackpool pushed for a late equaliser during a tense Championship encounter with relegation rivals Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night, Jerry Yates latched onto a low cross and fired a first-time shot into the shins of a nearby defender. But, with Lady Luck shining down, the ball rebounded, clattered off the side of Blackpool’s number nine and straight into the path of the onrushing Josh Bowler. 

2-2; that 90th minute leveller a potentially pivotal moment in relegation battle.

Given Blackpool’s current predicament – second from bottom and without a league win since October – the Tangerines will take anything they can get right now.  

Middlesbrough v Blackpool - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images

“They’ve had to work exceptionally hard,” the always straight-talking Mick McCarthy told LancsLive at full-time. “They were brilliant, the lads. They went and pressed and made them make mistakes. I think (we) deservedly got a point out of it.” 

Blackpool striker Jerry Yates is on the radar of Mick Beale’s Rangers

Yates, perhaps more than anybody else in McCarthy’s squad, epitomised Blackpool’s endeavour and never-say-die spirit during a night on which you could have cut the air with a butter knife.  

The former Swindon Town forward has not scored a single Championship goal since being linked with a move to Scottish Premiership giants Rangers before Christmas. But, even while the goals dried up, Yates’ work-rate and commitment has rarely come under question. 

Then again, if the late-blooming 26-year-old harbours ambitions of a potentially life-changing opportunity north of the border, a return to his autumnal form would not go amiss. Yates scored nine times in his first 17 league games of 2022/23; form that had Rangers eyeing up a potential £2 million swoop and Blackpool holding out for £5 million (Alan Nixon)

Since then, Yates has failed to trouble the scoresheet in 12 straight league matches; that rambunctious performance during the FA Cup thrashing of Nottingham Forest very much an exception rather than the rule both for Yates and Blackpool over the last few months. 

With his Championship status and his short-term future very much uncertain, however, Yates will be hoping that last-gasp intervention against Huddersfield can be a turning point both for him and his club.

“He’s a confidence player, Jerry,” former Blackpool forward Brett Ormerod explained a few months ago. “Just look at the two goals he scored against Sheffield United (in October); the header and the volley. He made them look very easy.

“There’s been speculation linking him with a number of clubs. But that’s to be expected when you’re playing as well as he is. It’s a compliment to him about how well he’s been playing.

“It’s hard to be consistent in the Championship but he managed to do that (at the start of) this season. He’s had a really good spell, and long may that continue.” 

Related Topics

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know