KEITH SOUTHERN is set for a busy weekend after Huddersfield Town boss Simon Grayson confirmed his latest signing will return to Championship rivals Blackpool for his testimonial on Sunday.
The Tangerines will take on Everton, midfielder Southern’s first club, at Bloomfield Road 24 hours after Town’s friendly at Oldham.
“Keith will play the opening 15 minutes or so and perhaps the final 15,” said Grayson, who both played alongside and managed 31-year-old Southern at Blackpool.
“Then he can go back a month later (Town head for the West coast resort on Saturday, September 22) and score the winner!
“It’s unusual for a player to spend 10 years with the same club these days, and I think it’s only fair he goes back for his own testimonial.
“He’s very well thought of at Blackpool – you can see that by the reaction of their fans to his departure – and I know he will become a firm favourite here.
“Our fans will see a really wholehearted player who has impressed in League I, the Championship and the Premier League.
“That experience will be invaluable to us, especially when you consider the number of younger players in our squad, but Keith has other things to offer as well.
“He’s a good player who is competitive and mobile and will provide that final piece of the jigsaw in the midfield area. And he still has plenty in the tank.
“Keith is also a great lad off the pitch who will fit in well here, and that’s important, because we want to maintain that team spirit.”
Southern, who cost £300,000 and has signed a two-year contract, took part in his first Town training session yesterday.
“It’s good to have him on board, and we now have real options in midfield with Adam Clayton, Oliver Norwood, Oscar Gobern and Anton Robinson.
“Oscar and Anton have both impressed in pre-season, and we’ve got five good players who will all have the chance to stake a claim. Nobody is guaranteed a place.”
Gateshead-born Southern skippered Everton’s reserve team, but was unable to force his way into the firsts and left for Blackpool, initially on loan, in 2002.
He played 375 times and scored 33 goals for the Tangerines, where he still had a year to run on his contract.
“I’ve achieved everything I wanted to achieve at Blackpool. I’ve played in the Premier League, had two great promotions at Wembley and I’m leaving on a fantastic note,” said Southern.
“The majority of the lads in that dressing room I’ve known for a long time and they’ll be my friends forever, not just the length of time I’m in football.
“I’m sad to be leaving them and I’ve had some lovely texts off them about how gutted they are.
“But football moves forward, nothing stands still. I’ve still got a few years left in the game and I’m really excited about joining Huddersfield.”
Blackpool moved fast to reinforce their midfield after Southern’s departure, signing Scott Robertson from Dundee United.
The 27-year-old Scotland international played alongside new Town left-back Paul Dixon for four seasons at Tannadice.