Blackpool boss focused on points not protests

Neil McDonald

Neil McDonald

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Neil McDonald says he’s not worried about Blackpool’s first home game against Rochdale tomorrow, despite yet more planned protests against the club’s owners.

Pool play at Bloomfield Road for the first time since the chaotic scenes at the end of last season, when their final Championship game was abandoned following a pitch invasion.

As became the norm last season, a group of supporters are planning to protest against the Oyston family outside the West Stand before the game, but it’s not something that McDonald is too concerned about.

The manager said: “We are looking forward to playing for the first time at home.

“I haven’t had to talk to the players about the off-the-field issues as they are always fully focused.

“The fans have been good to me in pre-season. They have even been singing my name, which was a bit of a nice surprise.

“Hopefully they’ve seen on Saturday what I’m trying to do and the players have too.”

McDonald is looking for his first win as Pool boss at the third attempt tomorrow, though Keith Hill’s unbeaten Rochdale side will arrive at Bloomfield Road full of confidence.

After describing his team’s 3-0 Capital One Cup hammering at Northampton as “absolutely rubbish”, McDonald is convinced his players will recover quickly.

He said: “It won’t be a tough job to get the players going again.

“They had a bit of a telling off on Tuesday and I think they responded in the second half.

“I would expect the next two teams we face (Burton are Tuesday’s visitors) to be there or thereabouts. They will be good tests for us.

“I think that will be three games over, which will certainly give us an indication of where we are at. Let’s see where we are after those games.”

Pool will have an almost unchanged squad, with Emmerson Boyce expected to return at right-back.

McDonald will abandon Tuesday’s 4-3-3 formation in favour of the 4-4-2 used at Colchester, and has two players unavailable.

“We only have Colin Doyle and John Herron injured. Everyone else is fit,” he confirmed.