Blackpool missed hitman Vassell, admits Bowyer

Kyle Vassell
Kyle Vassell
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Manager Gary Bowyer rued the absence of Kyle Vassell for Blackpool’s agonising defeat at Mansfield, but he hopes the in-form striker will be fit for Saturday’s home clash with bottom club Newport.

Vassell sat out Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at the One Call Stadium and the Seasiders missed his presence as Danny Rose’s injury-time goal ended their six-match unbeaten run.

Pool boss Bowyer revealed Vassell had failed a fitness test on the morning of the game and said the former Peterborough frontman was a big miss.

“He had a knock and it was disappointing he failed a fitness test,” Bowyer said.

“We missed him but we think he should be fit for Saturday.”

Vassell has been in fine form so far this season, netting 10 goals in 18 appearances all competitions, including a recent run of five in four games.

The 23-year-old has also struck up a fine partnership up front with Jamille Matt, who had scored in three successive matches before Tuesday’s blank.

Mark Cullen came into the side to replace Vassell but wasn’t able to take advantage of his first League Two start since Pool’s 1-0 defeat by Plymouth in August.

Bowyer accepted his side weren’t quite as effective in attack at Mansfield as they have been in recent games.

He added: “We spoke at half-time and we thought that we countered very well but just didn’t quite have that final pass or the composure to pick somebody out.

“We’ve just got to make sure that we do that better on Saturday.”

The defeat saw the Seasiders drop out of the play-off zone as they failed to build on this season’s first back-to-back league wins over Notts County and Leyton Orient.

They now return to Bloomfield Road to face a Newport County side who also lost 1-0 on Tuesday (at home to Wycombe) to end a lengthy unbeaten run (seven games).

Yet they remain bottom of League Two with 17 points from 17 games and Bowyer believes Saturday’s clash presents an ideal opportunity for his side to embark on another run.

“We’ve shown that we can play, put runs together and win games,” he said.

“We’ve talked about how we’ve got to do that again now.”