Blackpool chief executive Ben Mansford has admitted he was “gutted” to miss out on a summer deal for Arsenal loanee Daniel Ballard.

The 22-year-old centre-back played a starring role in Blackpool’s promotion-winning campaign.

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Ballard played 30 times for Blackpool and helped keep 15 clean sheets, also chipping in with two goals and one assist along the way.

However, when Arsenal decided to send the talented defender out on loan again in the summer window, it was Millwall who secured a season-long deal.

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Now, Blackpool chief executive Ben Mansford has opened up on Ballard’s decision to link up with Gary Rowett’s side.

As quoted by the Blackpool Gazette, Mansford revealed his desire to see the Northern Ireland international return to Bloomfield Road to continue his development, though he wished him the best for the future.

“I was gutted, I think we all were,” Mansford admitted.

“I’m biased but I think Dan should have come back and continued his development at Blackpool, but decisions were made that meant he didn’t.

“He’s a real credit to himself and his young family, and I wish him all the success in the world, apart from when he plays us.”

Ballard’s start to life at The Den

Since linking up with Rowett’s side, the Arsenal loanee has drawn high praise for his performances in the Championship.

This season is the Ballard’s first in the second-tier, though his displays have made him one of Millwall’s standout players in the early stages of the campaign. He has started every Championship game so far, helping keep three clean sheets and scoring once.

Reunited in January

It won’t be the reunion Mansford and Blackpool were hoping for in the summer, but Ballard will face his former side once again in January.

Millwall came out on top when the two sides faced off in August, securing a 2-1 win.

There is plenty of time yet before the two sides meet again, but Blackpool will be determined to show their progress and secure a win.