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Irish defender O'Connor drops down to League One in search of regular first-team football

The 20-year-old signed a new deal with Leeds United last week, but will spend next season on loan at Blackpool.

O'Connor pictured at Bloomfield Road today.
O'Connor pictured at Bloomfield Road today.
Image: Blackpool FC

PAUDIE O’CONNOR WILL look to gain regular first-team football next year after completing a season-long loan move to Blackpool from Leeds United.

The 20-year-old last week signed a two-year contract extension at Leeds after making his senior debut for the club last term, but has dropped down to League One in search of more opportunities.

O’Connor initially joined Leeds’ U23 squad from Limerick in March 2017 but was promoted into the first-team squad last year, before making his Championship debut against Sunderland in April.

The defender made four league appearances in total last term but heads to Blackpool hoping to get more minutes under his belt in the third tier under manager Gary Bowyer.

O’Connor, who played 39 times for his native Limerick in the League of Ireland before earning a move to England, will join former Ireland U21 international John O’Sullivan on the books at Bloomfield Road.

“I’ve had a nice week of getting a new deal at Leeds and then getting the opportunity to come to a great club like Blackpool,” he said.

“I’m really excited to get in, meet the lads and get training. I’m looking forward to getting a full season of first-team football under my belt, hopefully.”

Blackpool boss Bowyer added: “I’m really pleased to bring Paudie to the club after what has been a really promising season for him at Leeds United. He’s an aggressive defender who has impressed in the four games he has played in the Championship and we’re really looking forward to seeing him continue his development with us.”

Blackpool get their 2018/19 campaign with a trip away to Wycombe Wanderers next month.

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