STEVE Thompson blasted as “scandalous” the decision to send Tom Ince to Switzerland just 24 hours before Saturday’s game at Ipswich, writes WILLIAM WATT.
Pool’s star man was called by Europe’s football governing body UEFA to a hearing after he appealed a one-match international ban.
Much to Blackpool’s shock, the 21-year-old was required to travel across the continent when he should have been preparing for Saturday’s game.
Thompson said: “It’s madness that people in so-called high places can dictate to us when we have our top scorer. Tom’s preparation for the game on Saturday was madness.
“On Thursday he left training early to get to the airport, got a plane and arrived in the middle of the night in Switzerland.
“He got up at 7am on Friday morning, then he had a seven-hour trial. He then flew home and eventually got to our hotel at 11.30pm on Friday night.”
After talking to the player and his father Paul, Thompson decided to leave Ince on the bench for the 1-0 defeat.
Normally managers wouldn’t take much notice of a player’s dad, but with Ince senior set to be named as Pool’s new manager today Thompson had little choice.
The caretaker boss added: “I had a chat with Tom on Saturday morning and he was mentally and physically drained.
“You only had to look in the lad’s eyes to see he was nowhere near ready to play. I find it unbelievable that these people can do that so close to a game. It’s scandalous.
“These are the people who are supposed to be running our football.
“It’s not right for one of our players to have to do that. In the end he went there for nothing as it was upheld (Ince remains suspended for the first match of England U21s’ Euro 2013 campaign in June).
“In two important days of preparation he’s been flying all over Europe. We tried to delay it but there was nothing we could do.”
A Michael Chopra strike just after the break on Saturday was enough to separate the two sides and seal another shocking week at Bloomfield Road.
Thompson claims all the uncertainty throughout the week had taken its toll on his side, who remain six points clear of the Championship relegation zone.
“We seemed flat on Saturday,” he said. “The lads’ decision-making on the ball has to be looked at. The percentage of games in which we conceded goals first is scary. We huffed and puffed without much quality.
“Tiago Gomes’ chance, which hit the post in the first half, was important. I’m not blaming him but we needed that first goal. “At times we looked like we were fighting the ball. They made the game look so difficult. The lads have to go out there and affect the game. Too many didn’t on Saturday.”