June 17, 2022 11.57 am

Happy return for former Imps manager as Appleton named Blackpool head coach

He lost the play-off final to Blackpool while managing Lincoln

Former Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton has landed himself a Championship job in the form of Blackpool head coach – following his departure from the LNER Stadium.

Appleton, 46, was named Blackpool head coach on a four year contract on Friday, returning to Bloomfield Road after a managerial spell during the 2012/13 season.

It is his first job since stepping down from his role as Lincoln City manager at the end of the season, following an up and down 150 games in charge of the Imps.

Michael Appleton guided Lincoln to the League One play-off final in his first full season at the club, defeated by his new employers Blackpool at Wembley Stadium.

The 2021/22 season took a different route, however, as the Imps finished in 17th place following what felt like a season-long injury crisis – as well as personal health issues for Appleton which saw him diagnosed with cancer last summer.

This prompted him to step down from his role at the Imps at the end of the campaign, and he has since been replaced by former Birmingham City assistant Mark Kennedy.

He described it as a “privilege” to manage Lincoln City, and will now be given the chance to show what he can do in the Championship (the league above the Imps), after being named head coach at Blackpool.

There will be unfinished business for Appleton at the Tangerines, given his unfortunate record as the shortest-serving manager in the club’s history, when his 2012/13 spell at the club ended after just 11 league games.

He is a much more established manager almost a decade later, and will be hoping to continue the positive trajectory of the club left behind by Neil Critchley – who left the club to become Aston Villa’s assistant manager this summer.

Appleton made reference to his play style at Lincoln when speaking about his appointment at Blackpool, saying: “The fans will certainly have seen glimpses of what I tried to do in my days at Lincoln.

“I want to play aggressive, forward-thinking football and we have certain things that we want from the players when we’re playing, dependent on opposition clearly. We just want to be exciting and get people off their seats.”